Self-Care Simplified: How to Start Taking Better Care of Yourself

People are talking about self-care but are they doing it?


According to Apple’s Best of 2018 List, the most downloaded apps centered around self-care. It seems we’ve finally caught on to the fact that taking care of ourselves is important. Even more, research continues to support the relationship between self-care and physical, emotional, and mental health. Plainly put, happier people are healthier and they stay that way longer.


With all the resources we have available, from apps on our phones to downloadable workouts, how-to videos, and accountability groups, caring for our well-being can feel like another loaded task on our to-do list. Where do we begin? Which piece of self-care do we tackle first and is it even possible to do them all at the same time?


If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to start, try these four tips.


Take an inventory of your life satisfaction

Look at your life as a whole and rate each area on a scale of 1 to 10 for how satisfied you feel with it (1 indicating the lowest level of satisfaction). Some areas you might rate include:


Physical health

Emotional health

Finances

Spirituality/religion

Relationships

Personal growth

Fun and leisure

Career

Creativity


Which area did you rate the lowest? That’s likely a good place to begin.


Pick the activity that packs the most punch

Wherever you choose to start, ask yourself what’s the one thing you can do to pack the most punch. In other words, what can you start doing that will have the greatest impact?


If you’re focusing on improving your physical health, will you be more likely to go from a 3 to an 8 on that life satisfaction scale by exercising for 30 minutes 5 days a week or by cutting out something from your daily diet (like sugar or Diet Coke)? Envision the version of yourself at that highest level of satisfaction and then ask yourself what one thing will get you there faster than any other.


Be deliberate about adding joy in your life

Self-care isn’t just about improving the areas of your life that are suffering. It’s also about infusing your life with more fun, joy, and happiness. To do that, start by asking yourself the question: What brings me joy?


In big and small ways, make a list of all the things that make you happier, more centered, peaceful, and alive. From drinking a cup of warm coffee without interruption to traveling to a new place. Then, every week, before your week begins, pull out your calendar and schedule one thing from your list.


Figure out what’s getting in the way

If you find it difficult to take care of yourself in a particular area of your life, chances are you have some inner work to do. There’s something blocking you from making progress and taking action. More often than not, it’s a long-standing negative belief about yourself or fear over what that change might represent for you.


Get quiet and listen to your inner dialogue. What’s it saying as you think about taking better care of your body? Or doing things for yourself just because? If you believe you’re not worth the love and care or if you fear how the people in your life will react once you begin to change, you will self-sabotage all of your best-laid plans and give up before you make one ounce of progress. Remember: To change your life, you have to first change your mind.


Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or perfectly thought-out plan. Start small by taking stock of where you’re at and picking one area to focus on. Then take just one step towards improving that area and pay close attention to what gets in the way. And don’t forget to have fun. This life is meant to be enjoyed — so, get out there and start doing things that make you happy.

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