How have you been looking after yourself lately?
Have you been neglecting your own needs?
Or are you the last on a long list of priorities?
It’s a common theme in this 24/7 lifestyle for our own care to take a back seat while looking after the needs of others. This could be your work, your education, your children, your partner, or extended family and friends.
This can show up for me, even when I know better, as I think it does for us all when we’re focused on all the other tasks that are taking our attention. It’s really easy to slip into patterns of giving a lot of yourself and allowing your own care to go by the wayside.
One of the key things I believe we need to remember is that if our energy, health, and mental wellbeing are low, we’re not going to show up for others in the way we would like.
Perhaps you reach out to your family in ways that you don’t like in yourself, or you end up sitting in overwhelm, or the energy to find joy in your life simply disappears in the day to day existence of just getting by.
If you have an empty tank how can you be there for your loved ones, your work, and the things that matter in your life in a loving and productive way?
It all comes back to looking after your own needs. We have to be able to fill our own cups in order to be there for others.
There is a prevailing feeling amongst many, that if you put yourself first, that there is a sense that you’re being selfish, or self-indulgent to give yourself that time.
However, putting yourself last doesn’t serve anyone, particularly not the people you love the most, if you become a shell of yourself, or have no energy for the good in life. Life becomes something you have to endure, rather than be able to truly appreciate.
What if you could begin to see that your own self-care as a gift to others, rather than something that would detract from them?
So, a few things to consider…
Where are you on your love list?
Do you know that if most people write a list of what they love in their life, they very rarely include themselves in it? There is a tendency to overlook our own self-love as if it’s not important.
However, if we can’t love ourselves it is very hard to be able to show others love, as it’s really a foundation for how we interact with the world and other people.
The more you can begin to look at yourself through kind eyes, speak well to yourself, treat yourself as if you’re your own best friend, the more you can begin to spread that kindness and love to others, and in turn, this is reflected back to you.
Consider how you are using your time
Are you spending it with the right people and the things that matter most? Or are you saying yes to things you really don’t want to do because you feel you ‘should’ be doing them?
Perhaps there is a way to simplify, or cut back, on certain areas so that you have more space? Look at if you need to make some new choices in your life to be able to support your own self-care.
What could you do every day to look after yourself?
Now, this is going to be different for everyone, as only you can know what you need, and everyone’s commitments will be different.
Maybe it’s just taking 10 mins to do some type of self-care routine even in a busy day, or 5 mins meditation in the morning before the family wake up to set your mind up right for the day ahead, or perhaps it’s taking some new form of exercise so you feel good within your body?
However, it’s really important to make whatever you decide to do achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making it something out of reach and then give up. Start small and grow from there.
Reality check, nobody is perfect. Even the people you might look towards and think they have it all together will have things going on behind closed doors that you would never realize.
We are all a part of the shared human experience, and we all have times of, pain, grief, challenges, and moments where we feel we have failed.
Self-compassion is honouring and accepting that humanness.
When things go wrong we have a tendency to be harsh, speak badly to ourselves, and get our minds in recurring thought patterns which can take us down the rabbit hole of self-doubt, affecting our self-worth, and even our health.
Rather than berating yourself, or judging yourself harshly, can you find ways to treat yourself with compassion and understanding?
Instead of ignoring the emotional struggle, or perhaps using other unhealthy ways to numb the feeling, it means asking yourself. “What do I need?”, “How can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”
Then taking time to offer yourself self-care. What can you do to help yourself through this challenge?
Developing self-compassion for yourself, for any perceived shortcomings with an acceptance for where you are at the moment, will bring you a greater emotional peace and mental wellbeing, simultaneously decreasing anxiety and improving your mental and physical wellbeing.
Appreciating all you do
How can you appreciate yourself?
It’s not often that you stop to consider all you do, and really take a moment to acknowledge and feel proud of what you’re doing on a day to day basis.
This can be the smallest thing, maybe the way you handled a situation with your child or a small win at work, or perhaps you overcame an old habit and made a new choice that supports your wellbeing.
Close your eyes for a moment. Think of one thing you’re proud of yourself for in the past couple of weeks. Take the time to really breathe that in, sit with it and feel it in the heart. Acknowledge and be grateful towards yourself.
When you take time to give yourself some space for self-care, you’ll also gain a deeper awareness as to what is going on for you, what your needs are, and in what areas you would like, or need, to create shifts.
Taking the time to listen and connect within, to give yourself self-love is not only a gift to yourself, but this will shine out to the others you care about, and will be reflected in all you do.
If you need a little kick start to look at where you might need to offer yourself greater self-care and love, my workshops this month in Sydney and in Melbourne, are a way to begin to tap into how you’re feeling, and how you would like to forward.
Article by Sacha Stewart
Beginning her career in the advertising/film industries, Sacha knows the pressure of the corporate world, and experienced first-hand how much impact stress and anxiety had on the mind and body. Her passion became about educating others in wellbeing and holistic methods, to create balance, peace, greater awareness and connection.
A certified meditation teacher, Sacha is educated through both the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and Wellcoaches as a Health & Holistic Life Coach. She is currently completing a double diploma in Kinesiology and Mind Body Medicine.