During uncertain times, it’s especially important to take care of ourselves, even though it can feel overwhelming to do so or we may struggle with feeling guilty for tending to our own needs. This is especially true when we have a hard time showing up for ourselves and/or truly believing that things will be okay and we get wound really tight, stressing about all the things beyond our control and hyper-focused on easing the experience of those who need us. Factor in the “normal” work-life balance juggling act and it’s easy to see what it can feel so challenging to carve out that self-care time.
I totally get it—I sometimes find myself in a place where I know I need to focus on myself and my needs, but really struggle to do so. When that happens, I remind myself of what I would tell a client or share with my online community: taking care of ourselves can help us more effectively deal with stress and improve our relationship with the people that matter most by helping us be a better partner, parent, child, friend, colleague, mentor, provider, etc.
From there, I have a few basic self-care essentials I come back to and pick one to start with. If you’re struggling making self-care a priority or are searching for ways you can bring self-care into your life, a doctor, dietitian, therapist, or health coach can also be a helpful resource during this time.
Below are 7 self-care essentials I depend on and hope you’ll find them as helpful as I have:
- Eat balanced meals and snacks spread evenly throughout the day to stabilize your mood and energy.
- Move your body. Focus on feeling well rather than on burning calories.
- Prioritize sleep. If adequate restful sleep eludes you, pay attention to what your specific struggles are and come up with a simple plan to help you get the rest you need.
- Make a stress management game plan. Identify your specific stress triggers and formulate a plan for effectively dealing with them. It’s okay to start small.
- Say “no” to things that are a drain on your time and energy—and don’t forget that that is a complete sentence.
- Be open to positive change. Sometimes a little mindset shift can make a huge difference.
- Release guilt. You deserve to take care of yourself.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all of these at once if it feels like too much. Start with one or two that feel the most important or that fit into your life most realistically at this moment in time, and go from there.
Searching for more stress management ideas? Check out my book, The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress & Anxiety where you’ll find no-nonsense, life-changing advice to help you make healthy improvements in your life one small step at a time.