Take Care of Yourself
Each month, I feature one of my top-ten core values. This is my third: Take Care of Yourself.
People who need you are everywhere. People who need your time. Your attention. Your expertise. Your resources. Your love and care.
Being there for others is part of your life.
But what about you? What if you lose yourself along the way?
Just recently, I found myself feeling like that. Things around me were starting to settle down. The holidays had come and gone, and the latest Covid wave was over. But I wasn’t feeling settled.
And yet, I was doing all the “right” things. I slept well. Watched what I ate. Worked on exciting personal projects. Planned a cool vacation.
On top of that, everything was going pretty well at work and home. I should have felt great!
But I didn’t. I felt off-balance. I felt … overwhelmed.
I realized I was trying to be “all” to everyone. Like I was Superwoman! I was trying to meet every need of every employee at work and every individual in my personal life.
Related: Being Busy Doesn’t Make You Better
I was trying to be “all” to myself, too. I drove myself to meet ALL those New Year’s Resolutions — no matter what! Exercise EVERY day! Change ALL my unwanted habits — by the end of the month!
Well, yes, I am exaggerating a bit.
But really, it was all “too much.” I had to take a step back. Revisit the basics. Remind myself of my core values that guide me throughout life.
Take Care of Yourself. It’s one of my most cherished core values! Easy to say, not always easy to do.
Get your copy of my free worksheet. It features this month’s core value, Take Care of Yourself. Expect a new worksheet every month.
It seems like every day we hear about self-care. Diet, sleep, exercise, mental health, social connection and so on.
Taking care of yourself certainly includes all of that. But I think there’s something more.
It’s also about finding “balance.” Whatever that means to you! In other words, knowing YOUR needs. And meeting at least some of those needs with consistency.
Each person has a different idea of what’s “Zen” or balance to them. The right amount of give-and-take from one day to the next. What matters is figuring out what yours looks like. And then seeing what you can do to make it happen.
When I remind myself what I need, I find the three aspects below work for me. They are my own personal Power Challenges. Maybe they’ll speak to you, too. Or maybe you’ll get your own ideas to find what’s right for YOU.
Power Challenge 1: Make Time for You (No Excuses!)
Often, it seems there’s never enough time. Especially after you do all the things you “have” to do.
If you passively wait for some extra time to magically appear (so you can finally take care of you), you’ll be waiting a long, long time! Because if you’re not on your own list, something else will always step in and take priority.
Maybe you even have a kind of mantra: There’s never enough time for me!
If so, I recommend a new, better mantra: I’m making time for me. And here’s how you can do that.
Your needs are just as important as others’ needs.
First, start to say “no” to some requests. Not to all of them, of course. But carefully evaluate each request. Can someone else do it besides you? Can you do it at a later time? Could the person asking you actually do it themselves? Or … does it even need to happen at all?
Second, take a look at your current commitments and timelines. See if there’s anything you can shift, renegotiate or hand off to someone else.
You may find you can’t change your current calendar or commitments. Well, you can still work towards managing your future commitments. Avoid overloading yourself. When you have too much on your plate, you can’t get anything done — or you’re totally stressed out!
Believe it or not, no one really wants you to be overwhelmed and exhausted. See what’s possible to change. And let others support YOU. You might be happily surprised at the results!
Power Challenge 2: – Care for Your Physical and Mental Health
There’s a good reason why there are so many blog articles, podcasts, and videos on improving your health. Today’s pace of life puts a lot of wear and tear on our bodies and minds.
We easily forget we only have one body and one brain to last our whole life! And we often don’t notice the wear and tear until later in life.
Related: Is Your To-Do List Getting You Down?
It’s not always fun to take care of your physical and mental health, is it? Better sleep, more hydration, good nutrition, cutting down on sweet treats. Working through a difficult personal issue, getting professional support, spending quiet time in reflection. Maybe you’re thinking, Ugh!
But there’s just no getting around this truth: Your health matters.
You do have to take care of your physical self — eating right, moving your body, feeling good in your body — whatever that means for you. And, if you’re dealing with so much stress it’s taking a toll on your mental health, then help yourself by getting professional support.
Adopt the mantra “I’m MAKING time for me.”
Everyone is different in what they need and what works for them. I’ll bet some kinds of self-care are fairly easy for you. (Maybe you love exercising.) And others … not so easy. (Maybe you can’t sit still for ten minutes of reflection.)
Focus your attention on something that is not so easy for you. That’s probably where you’ll get the best payoff for your efforts.
Pick one way to take care of yourself that’s just a bit outside your comfort zone. Start small. As I’ve said many times, baby steps are just fine! Baby steps are better than no steps.
And if you need to get help, whether physical or mental, get it. If you’re on a tight budget, explore the many free resources available through blogs, podcasts, videos and social media.
Power Challenge 3: Have Some Fun!
As much as I love to work towards my vision and goals — to become my best self — sometimes it can all feel a bit … serious. Anyone who knows me will tell you I love to have a good time!
I’m sure you know the saying (with a bit of a spin), All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. Jill is not a boring person. But she’s not experiencing any real joy in her life! I don’t want you to be Jill.
For me, the core value “take care of yourself” must include having fun. Enjoying light moments. Having a good laugh, being a little silly, goofing off. Even indulging in a bit of “retail therapy” (just don’t go overboard)!
So, when’s the last time you had fun? Really let loose for a little while?
“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” — Randy Pauch
Having fun is good for your body, mind and spirit. But don’t wait for spontaneity! In fact, don’t wait at all.
Related: Add Fun for Productivity
Put something on your calendar right now. Go to a movie with your partner or a friend. Enjoy a bike ride. Maybe plan to knock off work a little early if you can — or who knows, play hooky for half a day!
Whatever you choose, it doesn’t have to be complicated. And please don’t make this into a big self-improvement project. Just have some FUN!
You’re Just As Important As Everyone Else
If you’re seeing yourself in my story, take a step back the way I did. Stop waiting for your schedule to get lighter all by itself. Stop relying on spontaneous opportunities for self-care, relaxation or fun.
Commit to taking action to care for yourself now — before exhaustion and resentment really take hold.
And think through your core values. If your values don’t include taking care of yourself, maybe you’d like to adopt this value. It will help you feel better in the short term and guide you to good physical and mental health throughout your life!
Looking for a motivational speaker for your next event? Carla energizes and inspires attendees to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Contact her today.