Self-care is incredibly important, especially now, in the middle of a pandemic, self-care is more important than ever. We’re not able to do the things we used to do to help us self-soothe, like meet a friend for happy hour, go to our favorite yoga class, or go shopping with your family. Those have all been put on pause, cut short.
It brings to mind that announcement on the plane, where they tell you to put on your mask before helping others. I personally have been in situations where I can literally feel my body just dragging, because I am taking care of and prioritizing everyone else's needs, and I know that I'm on the verge of burnout.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a very dear friend take his life, and everyone was coming to me for help. They wanted me to help coordinate a virtual Zoom funeral. They wanted help putting together a picture slideshow. I was in touch with family members of the one who passed when I felt myself breaking. On top of the pandemic and my other friends needing me, it started to weigh on me all at once.
And so I finally put my phone on silent. I needed half a day to focus on myself. I'm curled up on the couch. I put on a good movie; I made some soup. I took a hot shower, and I went to bed early. I knew that I had to take some time for myself.
Related: STAYING TRUE TO YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF
Signs That You Haven’t Made Self Care A Priority?
It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when there’s so much going on in your life. Sometimes your own health and well-being take a back seat. But when does this start being a problem? Luckily some signs remind us to give our mind and body some attention.
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Neglecting Your Basic Needs
When life gets busy, it’s easy to skip breakfast while rushing out the door. Or maybe you stay up later than usual here and there to check emails. But once this becomes a habit, that’s when it becomes a problem. You’re not getting the right nutrients you need to stay energized throughout the day. You’re losing the sleep you need to get a good night's rest. You need to make sure your own basic needs are met if you want to be able to serve others properly.
You’re Always on Autopilot
You know the feeling, you are so exhausted that you’re just trying to get through the day. You’re going through the motions but not really fully realizing everything you’re doing. As a person, we need time to reflect. We need time for deep thought. You need time to recharge.
You’ve Lost Touch with Friends and Family
After a while, you’ll start to notice you’re too busy — or even too exhausted — to check in with friends and family. It seems like a hassle just to pick up the phone and chat with your loved ones. When you’re too busy to nurture those critical personal connections, you know that you’ve been neglecting yourself far too long.
You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Had Fun
You haven’t hung out with friends for a long time. You haven’t gone to the movies. You haven’t read a good book or play your favorite games. You’ve been skipping board game nights to get work done. When you can’t remember the last time you’ve laughed or had fun, you probably are not practicing enough self-care.
You Don’t Feel Like Yourself Anymore
If you no longer think about your goals, your passions, your dreams, you will start losing a sense of yourself. At that point, it’s definitely time to get back on track. Whether it’s filling out a planner, journal, or just watching your favorite movie with some popcorn, you need to start spending time with yourself again. Then you’ll begin to rediscover yourself and your goals. Don’t ever forget your own ambitions and goals.
Benefits of Good Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Health?
Improving your mental health is just as important — if not more so — than physical health. In fact, sometimes, it’s what you need even to have the capacity to take that run or attend that yoga class. Recent studies have shown that chronic stress deteriorates the hippocampus. Stress also leads to decreased concentration and memory, anger, irritability, and loss of sense of humor.
Some of the benefits of useful mental health include:
- Less anxiety and stress
- Improved moods
- Clearer thinking and better memory
- Sense of calmness
- More self-esteem
- Reduced risk of depression
- Improvements to relationships
Good emotional health has a lot of similar benefits, including more energy, less stress, deeper relationships, and higher self-esteem. Someone with robust emotional health can identify when negative emotions are on the rise and take hold of them. They can catch their own self-judgments, and they’re curious about the world.
So how do you get to that point? How do you become more confident in yourself and stay focused on your own needs and goals? I have some tips for you. These are some things I’ve had to learn to do myself to remain passionate and focused on Soul Carrier while also taking care of other aspects of my life.
Learn to Say No
I think that we have to have the courage to say no. If people get upset, that's on them, and you just have to show up with kindness and love. You have to put yourself first in certain situations to be able to serve and show up for other people in the long-term.
Express Yourself Through Poetry, Cooking, Writing, and Other Hobbies
This is something you can do now that you’re in quarantine. Express yourself, write some poetry, have a journal, and learn how to cook. Cooking is such a creative activity, in terms of thinking about what food you're going to bring together. I think it's an enjoyable thing. I also love sketching and drawing. I really have become interested in coding, and I think all of those things are just an outlet to take care of me and the things that I'm interested in.
This is something you may have to put on hold due to the pandemic. But it’s definitely something you can take time planning for when travel bans are lifted, and it’s safe to travel once again. Look into some of the places you’ve always been interested in and spend some time looking into activities you can do there, where you’d stay, and what you’d explore. Meanwhile, you can also explore your own neighborhood. Try a new street you’ve never really focused on. Check out a new park. It’s that sense of curiosity and novelty that keeps you going.
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Stand Up For Yourself
I like to encourage people to write out their goals, vision in life, and as requested, choices and forks in the road that comes your way. The best way to sum this up is to ask yourself "If I say yes to this request if I follow through on this project, am I going to get off track and move away from my own personal goals?" At that moment, you gain your clarity and self-awareness.
I think exercise is critical; it's vital to take the time to run and do yoga. I picked up jump roping during this pandemic, it's simple, easy, and keeps you in great shape. When you’re not in the mood to move, try exercising your mind with a good book and learn something new.
Stay Away from Drama
Staying away from drama or people that bring toxic energy to your vicinity can protect your vital force. We only have so much of it, and it's really up to us to decide how we want to use it and who to give our energy and our light to.
Do Things You’re Passionate About
I'm really passionate about Soul Carrier, being the symbol and beacon of life for a couple of messages that kind of all tie into the theme of self-care. One of my taglines is, "Where do you want to go?" Unfortunately, right now, we can't travel or be physically on the go. But to me, it's a more spiritual, metaphorical message, which makes us wonder: Where do you want to go in life? What do you want to create for you?
It doesn’t have to be a business or pursuing a new career — although that never hurts if it’s what you truly want. Create some short term goals that align with your passions. Maybe write the first draft of that children’s book you had in mind. Or create a logo for the cupcake business you’ve always wanted to start.
If you’re beginning to feel lost and exhausted, and aren't really focused on your own goals and health, it’s time to take a step back and focus on yourself again. That’s how you take care of your soul properly. Eat a healthy snack. Learn to say “no” when you’ve got too much on your plate. Take some time for yourself. Learn a new skill. Pursue your dreams. Take a walk somewhere new. Just make sure everything you do aligns with your overall vision, your goals, and your dreams.
Over and over again, when I hit a snag on the road, or there's hiccup or friction in my business or personal life, it's probably because I failed to have alignment with my greater vision and the direction with my life.
So, when you think of Soul Carrier, think about that question. Where do you want to go? Because I want my company to stand for that. And to think about creating and writing out what their true north is — and then just keep coming back to align with that.
So, I leave you with those thoughts. Take care of yourself. It's now more important than ever, so enjoy life, and have a wonderful day.
Related: STAYING TRUE TO YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF