Women generally put themselves last on their To-Do list (if they even make it on their To-Do list!) We tend to want to be all things to all people all the time. Too often the term self-care gets lumped into the category of selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth! I’m sure you’ve heard author Harold Lindsell’s expression: “What’s in the well, comes up in the bucket.” What happens if the well is dry? Without self-care, your well will be dry and your empty bucket will not serve anyone.
Here are ten ways to make sure there’s always plenty of water in your well – but it’s up to you to put yourself on your list and make time for at least one of these suggestions. Every. Single. Day. (You’re worth it – and so are the people who rely on you!)
Greet yourself with a smile
Greet yourself in the morning the same way you’d greet your best-friend – with a smile. When you look in the mirror for the first time in the morning, smile and say, “Good morning, Gorgeous!” Try it! It may sound corny and may even be hard to do at first, but it sure is a nice way to start the day!
Learn to accept compliments
When you learn to say a simple “thank you” instead of whatever deflection you’re used to using, you are providing the giver of the compliment a gift every bit as much as you are receiving the gift of the compliment. Think of it this way, if you can’t even receive the words someone is offering you, what incentive is there for someone to offer you anything more?
Do you ever listen to yourself? Would you say those same things to your best friend, or your favorite child? Is it routine to call yourself stupid when you make a mistake? Or groan when you look in the mirror? Stop it. Just. Stop. It. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say it? Maybe that means before you can learn to say nice things to yourself, you’ll need to just be quiet. Pause long enough in that stillness to reframe and choose the kind words you will use instead.
List 25 great things you’ve done
You’re great! I know it. The people around you know it. It’s time you acknowledge it too. One way to do that is to make a list of at least 25 things you’re proud of. It’s okay if you want to go all the way back to third grade when you kicked the winning home run in kickball. Write it down. This isn’t bragging. No one even has to see this list. This list will make it easier to talk kindly to yourself – after all, who can be mean to a kickball star?
Learn to say NO
Not only learn to say it but skip the guilt and the second-guessing that usually accompanies it. NO is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in your body, it will get stronger the more you use it. Say it right now. Out loud. Now say it again, like you mean it. Keep it at the ready when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do. Simply say NO. Enough said.
Take a walk outside
Even if it’s five minutes, take a walk outside. Every day. If you own a dog, you’re lucky, you already have a built-in obligation. The rest of us have to be more deliberate. I work from home, and everything I need is right here, so it’s easy for me to get caught up in what I’m doing. Set a reminder if you must but moving your body by taking a walk outside is an easy way to do something nice for yourself.
Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But when as many as 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated (which means you are drinking less than the optimal amount for your body with your daily activities), chances are you aren’t drinking enough water. I devote an entire chapter in my book, A Good Plan, to the importance of drinking enough water. Drink a 16 oz glass of water first thing in the morning and you’ll be off to a great start!
More statistics – more than one third of adults don’t get enough sleep – the percentage is even higher if you only include women. Sleep is another entire chapter in my book. From cognitive impairment, to weight gain (the next time you don’t get a good night’s rest, pay attention to your cravings the next day – chances are you’ll crave highly-processed, empty calorie carbs) to heightened grouchiness, no one benefits when you don’t sleep. Google sleep hygiene and create your own bedtime ritual.
List the 5 best things of the day
Here’s a great place to start your new bedtime ritual. Some people call it a gratitude journal, but I prefer to list the five best things of the day. I keep my journal by my bed and it’s one of the last things I do. It will make you more aware of the best things in your day as they are happening (the smell of the lilacs, the way the sun was shining, the checkout person who was extra helpful…) If you’re a believer in like-attracts-like then noticing all the good stuff will attract more good stuff to you.
Give yourself permission
What have you been holding yourself back from doing? Learning something new? Bingeing your favorite show? Reading a book? Starting a new exercise class? Whatever it is, give yourself permission to do it. Take the time to figure out where it will fit into your schedule and then make a date with yourself – write it in your calendar. If need be, include your family in your plan – let them know what you plan to do and when you plan to do it. You’ll see, they really are your biggest fans, they’ll appreciate being included, and they’ll support you.
When you’re happy, it’s a ripple effect – and all those around you will feel the benefits of you taking care of you. Your well will remain full.
Where will you start? Which one will you do today? I’d love to know below!
P.S. My book, A Good Plan: Intentionally Simple is loaded with simple and doable ways to take care of yourself (and those in your orbit). Right now you can receive your own, autographed copy, for the cost of shipping and handling. I’ll even personalize it. Makes a great gift too! Offer is only valid until June 15, so click here while it’s fresh on your mind.