You First, Them Second
I used to think that self care was, well, selfish. I thought that in order to take care of myself, I had to take away from others. But that's simply ludicrous. As soon as I realized that in order to truly give myself to others, I need to take time for me, my world changed. Because the reality is that the relationship that you have with yourself sets the tone for every single relationship in your life. You decide. How do you want to show up?
I am a people person by nature, so I often wasn't even noticing that I was choosing "them" over me. I was choosing to sacrifice my rest, my free time, and the things that made me happy to serve others and their wants or needs. It's not that that is always a bad place to be, but eventually my glass was empty and I had nothing left to pour. When I moved back towards self-care as the foundation of my life, my friendships got tighter, my adventures became more meaningful, and I effortlessly began to slide into a friend group that aligned with who I am and where I want go.
Here's a couple tricks that brought me back to my center juuuuuuuust in case you may have veered a little off course yourself. Because hey, we all get a little crazy sometimes.
COMMIT TO A MEDITATION PRACTICE
Take a couple of moments in the morning or night to sit. That's all it takes - a couple moments. I promise that if you commit to a daily practice, even for just a week, you'll notice the benefits. I find that I'm more grounded, less reactive, and able to notice the subtle opportunities that show up in my life.
Every morning I roll out of bed and straight into the kitchen (eeek, I'm a caffeine addict). I start the french press and while it's brewing I light a candle and sit my butt on the mediation pillow. Sometimes that is the hardest part. Just do it. Commit. While the coffee brews, I dive into deep, full breaths. And when I'm done, vuala! Coffee is ready.
SET A BEDTIME ALARM
There are books to read, people to chat with, emails to respond to, and tv to watch. If you don't set a specific time to get some shut eye, your waking moments may just bleed into your beauty rest. We wildly underestimate the benefits of a good night sleep. It is SO important for your overall mental and physical health. Aside from the obvious, it's been proven to improve memory, spur creativity, curb inflammation, sharpen your attention and keep you at a healthy weight. I try to always get 7-8 hours a night, minimum. My body and mind thank me every damn time.
SCHEDULE YOUR TIME
Every Sunday evening I take 15 minutes to schedule out my week. I put everything in a google calendar that is important to me to complete. This includes my gym time, meditation time, friend time, puppy time, and "me" time.
Make sure that the whatever is a priority to you has a solid block on your calendar. Want to workout 6 days a week? Mark it on the schedule. Find the classes you want to take and book them, now. Need to make sure you call your loved ones? Mark it on the schedule. Trying to get better about meal prepping? Block time out to do the cooking. If you fill up your calendar with taking care of yourself, you'll notice that the time left for those around you is meaningful. You simply have more life to give.
PREPARE MORE MEALS
When you cook for yourself, you acknowledge what is actually going into your food. It's much easier to live a healthy lifestyle when you're not eating out all the time. Not to mention it's a great outlet for creativity if you allow it to be! Have fun trying new recipes, new ingredients and exciting flavors. You might just figure out how fuel your body and get out your creative tendencies at once! You'll probably save some cash money monnnnnay while you're at it.
DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, OFTEN
For me, I love yoga. It makes my body feel good, my heart strong and my thoughts clear. But when I get too busy it is often the first thing to get knocked off the list. It's funny how that happens. When I need to get back on the happy train, I get back on the mat.
Every. Single. Day.
... because it makes me happy. And we need more happy humans. Fact.
Some people like to wake up and do a quick 5 minute journal. Some like to wake up say out load the things they are grateful for. Whatever it is for you, make a point to notice the little (and big) things that you are grateful to have in your life. They matter. The more you notice them, the greater and larger they become.
Gratitude changes everything.
Remember, it's ok to choose yourself. You are the only one responsible for your happiness and no one can help you cultivate it. You deserve to be living the very best version of yourself. We all want that for you.
Get on with the damn thing. We need a little (lotta) self lovin' to make the world go around.