Do you view it as frivolous, like something that would be nice to do when you retire or the kids are out of the house?
Or, do you view self-care as essential to leading your best life possible? (You can tell my bias by how I word the question!) But here’s the real question: If you view it as essential, do you regularly practice it or do the needs of everything and everyone else come first?
It’s likely you are in the middle – you know it’s important, you do it sometimes, but generally other things take priority and your self-care takes a back seat. Am I warm?
Ask yourself the following question: “Where do I need to take care of myself more?” Consider the following 15 areas as you answer that question. For each one, give a quick thumbs up, thumbs down or neutral judgment on how you would rate your self-care now:
- Physical health
- Your intimate relationship
- Your friendships
- Fun and play
- Learning and personal growth
- Your environment (e.g. home, workspace)
- Connection to yourself
- Spiritual connection
- Mental health
- Feeling engaged
- Emotional health
- Energy levels
- Physical appearance
- And yes, relaxation and pampering
Once you’ve done the quick review, where do you feel drawn to make changes? Then determine what those changes would be. Specifically.
For example, I took a client through a self-care exercise and she noted that “fun and play” received very little attention. It didn’t surprise me that food often served as entertainment for her, which meant she took in more calories than she needed (and high fat, high sugar calories at that). As she researched and pursued fun and play options, she became more engaged in things she truly enjoyed, and learned to stop using food as entertainment.
It’s all intertwined: your weight, how you take care of yourself, your relationships, your mental, emotional and spiritual health…when you put your attention on one, it will affect the others. As you take positive actions toward self-care, it reverberates throughout your life. You have greater capacity and resilience, and it creates an upward spiral of taking more positive actions that lead to reaching and maintaining your ideal weight.
Let me leave you with this: self-care is critical to living your optimum life and contributing at the highest level. It’s a must-have, not a nice-to-have.