I had a conversation with a friend last week and we chatted about life, stress and the crazy world we live in right now. As we were chatting she said “I know it’s selfish, but I’m really focused on myself right now. I feel guilty but I’m trying to take care of myself more.”
I felt so proud of her that she recognized the need for more self-care as a tool to mitigate the effects of stress.
And then I felt sad that she thought of herself as self-ish and experienced guilt over it.
Is this you too?
It’s easy to stay busy and take care of everyone else. It’s easy to stay distracted. But in the end, this is going to breed resentment and tension that will spill over into your energy and your relationships.
When we are physically or emotionally drained, it’s challenging to stay present and in control of how we react to others. It’s only by being proactive in prioritizing ourselves that we are not only able to change how we feel, but also buffer the effects of stress while building resilience in the process.
Self-care isn’t selfish.
Self-care is the process of engaging in behaviours that change us emotionally, physically and energetically. It’s about supporting the foundations of who we are so that we can show up differently.
Here are a few of my favorite self-care tips and strategies.
Any type of exercise has been proven to affect how we process information – it affects how we think. And it’s not really important what you choose to do…so do what feels good. Change it up every so often or stick with the same thing, but get into the routine of doing something daily. Your emotional well-being relies on this.
If you’re in my circle, you probably know that I’m a big advocate for journaling. I write about it all the time. I love it because sometimes there can be a lot of mental ‘noise’ and writing helps me to silence that.
Having a place where you can express your thoughts and emotions allows for two things: Reflection and processing. This is where we can write the things we shouldn’t or can’t say, without fear or judgment. This is where we can write to understand our thoughts and feelings. And this is the place where difficult emotions (such as anger) can be processed safely and in a healthy manner.
Developing this habit is one of the best things that you can do for yourself mentally and emotionally.
We simply cannot function at a peak level when we are exhausted. Our physical and mental functioning is compromised and we’ll often find ourselves irritable or emotional.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to this, but researchers say that somewhere between 6 and 8 hours is adequate for most people. Pay attention to your fatigue level and if you’re tired, get some rest.
You’ve heard the expression, “you are what you eat”…well, I totally adhere to that philosophy. About 15 years ago…when the boys were still pretty little, I started eating clean. Getting rid of processed and unnatural foods, and really simplifying our diet to meals that our bodies could process easily. I know that when I do this, I feel differently.
So pay attention to what you’re filling your body with. Create some intention around food and what foods energize you.
Social media is not healthy. Particularly for children, but also as adults it can be easy to slip into mindsets of comparison or lack when you are bombarded by the artificial perfection that fills our social feeds.
Setting boundaries around technology is incredibly effective in shifting our outlook. We can pivot from negative to positive easily just by removing the impact of social media for a short time. We can silence negativity more easily and shift our attention to the important things in life rather than distraction.
When we engage in self-care on a routine basis, how we feel about ourselves changes, shifting the energy we bring into every situation and relationship.
Self-care is the single biggest factor in our ability to mitigate stress, build resilience and pivot our perspective.
So if you’re not engaging in self-care, why not? It’s the best thing you can do for you and those around you.
Katrina Murphy is a Professional Intuitive Mindset and Confidence Coach in Ontario, Canada, serving clients across Canada and internationally. Katrina helps professionals to change the relationship that they have with themselves so they can reconnect both in their relationships and at work. She’s been featured in various publications and is the creator of the Power-Passion-Purpose Framework.