Self-care practices are important but it can be challenging to prioritize them. We know we have to take care of ourselves but when considering everything and everyone else that needs our attention, it’s hard to put ourselves first. Consider these gentle reminders as encouragement to take good care of yourself.
Self care may sound selfish or indulgent but when you remember how much better you feel and how much more you have to give when you are taking good care, you’ll realize that it benefits everyone around you too. Even taking a few minutes a day for yourself will be a powerful start. If you aren’t sure what self-care practices you want to try, start by sitting quietly with your hands on your heart. Give yourself some time to consider what’s next.
10 Gentle Reminders to Help You Prioritize Self-Care Practices
1. Self-care practices can’t wait.
That moment, when you think you don’t have time to take care of yourself, is the exact moment you have to take care of yourself. Self-care can’t be a “when I have time” thing or something extra or indulgent. It’s essential. Please, take care of you (especially when you don’t think you have time). If it’s time to rest, then rest. It it’s time for a walk, take a walk. Ask yourself what you need.
2. Taking care of yourself is not a sacrifice.
Self-care doesn’t always mean adding something. Taking away a habit or something else that isn’t serving you is powerful too. Give yourself permission to stop. You don’t have to stop. You get to stop.
- Stop pushing.
- Stop complaining.
- Stop drinking.
- Stop controlling.
- Stop overextending yourself.
- Stop compromising your heart.
- Stop saying yes when you want to say no.
- Stop proving yourself.
- Stop doubting yourself.
Decide what you need to stop to enjoy your life even more. Then give yourself permission to stop. It’s a privilege to remove the things that are holding us back. I’m so grateful that we get to stop.
3. This little trick has helped me stay committed to self-care practices.
Keep coming back. If you want to feel better, come back to healthy habits without guilt for letting them go. If a healthy life feels impossible due to the current situation, a scary diagnosis, chronic illness, crushing stress or old habits holding on, keep coming back. Coming back is your connection to hope, and there is healing in hope. Whatever it is that helps you feel better in your body, heart or mind, this is an invitation to come back to it. Come back to health. Come back to love. Come back to you. No RSVP required.
4. Put your hand on your heart.
“It’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, no, this is what is important.” – Iain Thomas
The world is yelling. Pay attention to me! Buy me! Watch this! Read this! Scroll all the way to the end! Get on this Zoom call! Do this! Feel this way! Not this way! And it will keep yelling. And you will keep putting your hand on your heart to remember what’s important to you. Even though things are different now, you still get to have boundaries. You still get to decide where your attention goes and when. And tomorrow, when things are different again, you can decide again.
5. Set and honor boundaries.
If you want time for self-care practices, it’s important to hold boundaries to protect your time and energy. Just because someone doesn’t like your boundaries doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Boundaries and people not liking them are not mutually exclusive.
6. Caring less about what other people think is the ultimate self-care practice.
This quote from Georgia O’Keeffe always reminds me stay focused on what’s important. She said, “I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free. Words to live by for more joyful creating, easier breathing and a life that is full of peace and possibility. Caring less about what other people think of you is the ultimate self care practice.
7. Be thoughtful about where your energy goes.
Deciding what to wear requires mental energy better spent on other things. Wearing the same things over and over again may not sound like taking care of yourself at first but it’s a powerful self-care practice. I used to spend so much brain power buying things, chasing sales and figuring out what to wear. I remember trying on several outfits getting ready in the morning in hopes of finding the perfect thing. Now, in curating a small capsule wardrobe with Project 333, there are no daily decisions required. I get to wear my favorite things every day. Fewer decisions equal less decision fatigue and more calm and clarity.
8. Own less.
Owning less stuff means cleaning less stuff. It also means caring for, worrying about and organizing less. Create less work for yourself by getting rid of anything you don’t want to take care of anymore. Look around your home to see what’s getting your attention, time and energy. If it’s not worth it, let it go.
9. Simplicity is the way back to love.
If you don’t know what matters, get rid of anything that doesn’t. Chances are you are interested in simplifying your life because things feel a little heavy, or maybe you feel pulled in too many directions. When you try to juggle everything, you can’t enjoy anything. Simplicity is the way back to love, the way back to health and the way back to you.
10. There is no room for guilt.
Feeling guilty for taking care of yourself is not taking care of yourself. If you want to engage in self-care practices, do it guilt free. Here it is, your guilt-free permission slip to …
- Go to bed early (without doing one more thing.
- Drink water or a mocktail instead of drinking if you don’t feel like it.
- Cancel plans and read a book instead.
- Say “no” even when you aren’t busy.
- Unplug and disconnect from email or social media or the news.
- Speak and honor your boundaries.
Which permission slip do you need most?
If you are just coming back to your self-care practices, go slowly, be gentle and start small. Consistency is more powerful than intensity.