Busy professionals tend to want to have it all. The great job, amazing lifestyle, property portfolio by age 40, fit and healthy approach to each day. But what happens when we can’t keep this up? What happens when the pressure we put on ourselves builds and builds and the result is a steep decline in our own productivity, health and wellbeing.
It’s no revelation that when our lives get busy, the first thing we neglect is ourselves. All of a sudden those deadlines, tasks and work pressures take precedence over our health. Friends and family become more demanding. It feels like everyone wants a slice of our time. We beat ourselves up for not exercising enough or indulging in too many Chardonnay’s on a Friday night. What’s more is, I bet you still preach to those around you to look after themselves? Even more so when they are under increased pressure. So why doesn’t this apply to our own self care?
Self care comes in what ever form feels right for you. The main thing is that you do it.
If you want to maintain a healthy plateau and still strive for the lifestyle you desire, you need to integrate a good self-care plan into your daily routine. You can start with these 5 simple steps.
1. Ditch the guilt.
Self care is not selfish. In fact, you’re doing yourself, and everyone around you a disservice if you don’t look after yourself. It’s time for you to stop wearing busyness as a badge of honour. It’s not okay to feel consistently run down. It’s not okay to neglect your self at the expense of those ‘critical’ tasks and deadlines. So, get over the guilt, schedule in some things you WANT to do each and every week and stick to it- it could be anything from a 15-minute walk around the park, a coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for a while, a blow wave or a pilates class. Whatever floats your boat.
2. Don’t start the day reading emails.
Take time in the mornings to create a ritual that works for you. Switching off your alarm on your iPhone doesn’t mean you have to immediately attend to those emails, to the Twitter feed or anything else related to the virtual world. Get up, make yourself a cup of tea, sit down, look outside, take a breath. Give your body a chance to wake up and your mind a chance to reset, a chance to get clear about your day and what you want to achieve. For creatives, the mornings are the best time to work on your endeavours, without the overwhelm and distraction of emails and social media.
3. Say ‘No’ to sh*t you don’t want to do
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said this to my clients. It’s such a simple concept – just say No. No to everything and everyone that doesn’t serve you. It’s not only empowering, you’ll give yourself a lot more time to focus on the things you actually want to do, and the areas of your life you’re most productive and/or profitable.
4. Quality breaks.
Small, consistent, quality breaks from your work. Rather than the torture of procrastination. Step away from your desk and go outside, make a cup of tea, do some stretches. You’re not glued to the seat, and a 5-minute break is far better than 20 minutes of procrastinating and aimlessly surfing the web.
5. Small steps
There’s no point booking in Tennis lessons followed by a French class followed by a dinner date. You’ll just beat yourself up when it doesn’t happen. The key to self care isn’t about making sweeping changes. We’re focusing on tiny habits, consistently implemented each day.
Remember, self care isn’t an activity, it’s a state of mind.
Its about making a decision to put yourself first.
How do you feel when you invest in your own self care? If you have any of your own tips for self care, leave them in the comments below!
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