This really hits close to home for me because lately I have been feeling overwhelmed.
Managing this site, my job, my budget, taking an online course, and trying to keep up with my friends is draining to say the least.
I hadn't been sleeping well and even when I was getting a full night's rest I still woke up feeling out of sorts.
I had a choice to make. I could keep chugging along and ignoring what my body and spirit were telling me or I could take responsibility for changing how I felt.
Here are 6 steps for improving your self-care when things get tough.
1. Acknowledge how you feel.
In the past, I viewed admitting to feeling less than stellar as a sign of weakness. I should be cool, calm, and collected all the time right?
Wrong. We all have good days and bad days, but to improve the bad days you have to acknowledge them. Ignoring the reality will only make the situation worse.
Recognize what doesn't feel right so you are aware of what you need to work on.
2. Decide how you want to feel.
After I admitted that I didn't feel good, I had to consider how I wanted to feel.
You can't skip this. Just saying I don't want to feel like shit anymore and not knowing what it is you want to feel is going to get you nowhere fast.
I knew that I wanted to feel calm, balanced, and well-rested. Being in these states would prepare me to do everything on my to-do list with ease and creativity instead of anxiety.
3. Choose what you're going to do to change how you feel.
Now is the time you get to pick which practices will work best to shift your mood. I chose reading, journaling, and meditation to help me.
After I finish reading or writing in my journal, I meditate for at least 10 minutes before going to bed.
When I started doing this, I immediately noticed a difference in my sleep and I woke up feeling more refreshed. I also experienced less stress when approaching the tasks of the day.
4. Set aside time to practice your self-care.
Figure out what part of the day is least taxing on your time.
If you're a morning person, set aside some time before starting work.
Me, I'm not a morning person, so I do my routine before bed, starting around 9 pm. I put away the gadgets (laptop, e-reader and cell) and read for a half hour and then meditate.
If you stop making self-care a priority, you will fall back into the cycle of those unwanted feelings.
No one is expecting you to be perfect, but it would be great if self-care became a part of your daily routine.
In my life, it's more important for me to focus on my self-care during the week when I'm busier, but even on the weekends I at least try to do deep breathing exercises before going to bed.
6. If you can only do one thing a day, say this and mean it.
" I am enough and I love myself."
When we start feeling drained, overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed out it's because what we think should be happening is not matching our reality.
Maybe we have set unrealistic expectations for ourselves or we are comparing our lives to others and saying, "why not me".
I'm guilty. I don't want to work at my day job or have to budget down to the last cent like a CPA.
I want my business to take off and support me, but the reality is I'm not there yet. The challenge is accepting that where I am in this moment is exactly where I need to be.
I keep telling myself everyday, "I am enough and I love myself." and each day I feel a little lighter.
There will still be some bad says, but the good ones will outnumber them and I will remember I am right where I need to be and you are too.
Use these steps to realign your mind, body and spirit. Also learn about creative self-care.