Self-care is something I’ve had to learn as I get older and it’s harder to master than you’ll expect. It was quite a challenge to unlearn some deeply ingrained unhealthy habits and redefine them to be healthier character traits. For example, I’m a people pleaser to a fault and I had to learn how to balance that out with my self-care and not feel bad about it. I had to learn that it’s ok to sometimes set boundaries, and it’s ok to have expectations of respect and even in some situations reciprocation.
Self-care is crucial to our physical, mental and emotional well-being and contributes greatly to making us more wholesome individuals and properly functioning adults. Below are some self-care habits to get you started.
Being present in the present is a good habit to master. It’s particularly hard for ambitious people or people in jobs or situations they hate but it’s important. Learn to make the most of your current situation no matter how unpleasant and see how you can learn from it at least. Plan your next moves while taking in all that “now” has to offer. This is especially true for people in transition- maybe you just graduated and you’re trying to find a job or change jobs or cities. Make all your plans but don’t be so caught up in it that the beauty of now passes you by. Make every moment count.
This ties in with the point above. Negativity is a beast that just gets hungrier the more you feed it. You’re In your twenties or early thirties so it’s definitely not teenage angst no it’s totally logical angst. And that validation can suck you in really quickly. You have to make conscious efforts to get rid of the negativity and focus on the positive things. Control your anger, don’t dwell on bad events, and don’t sulk continuously. Just because you have a perfectly good reason to be negative doesn’t mean you should be.
And in some cases demand it. It’s ok to remind others, and yourself, that your needs are important too. Don’t look down on yourself or play down your abilities and accomplishments especially in the workplace. Be humble but know your worth.
Demanding reciprocation or reciprocating can be easily abused or exploited if you don’t understand it properly. It is ok and even advised to be selfless and give freely, however, there are certain relationships and friendships that are life bringing because both parties are in it with equal intention. The love and care might not be given in equal capacity but so long as the intention and dedication have equal drive it remains a healthy relationship. Dating someone who doesn’t match your dedication to the relationship is a good example of instances when it’s ok to demand reciprocation. It’s ok to want to be treated with just as much care and respect. And if that can’t be the case, you need to reevaluate and possibly move on.
Don’t neglect your physical Health
Physical health is important and contributes to your mental and emotional well-being. You don’t have to try to get the perfect body or drastically change your diet. But try to work some physical exercise into your daily or weekly routine. Go on a light jog, eat some greens and don’t stress eat.
Self-care is crucial to our physical, mental and emotional well-being
Choose who you spend time with
If you don’t want to hang out with a person or group of people, Don’t. I’ve had to learn this the hard way but it paid off greatly. Be intentional in picking your friends and it’s ok to choose how to spend your free time or who to spend your free time with. Don’t spread yourself thin and don’t surround yourself with negative company.
Learn to Say No
Learning to say “No” is one of the pillars of adulting. Say no and don’t overthink it after. In order to make the most of your time and your resources, you have to prioritize. You can’t please everyone. You just can’t. It’s ok to push yourself but you should also know and set your limits. And if you’re not sure if saying No is the right thing to do, refer to the last point below. I read a book called Boundaries and it gave me a lot of insight on this.
Let Peace Be Your Referee
This is my personal motto. You don’t have to adopt it but I definitely need it to make a point. In a world of gray areas, in a world where people have clashing values, in a world of deteriorating moral compass, let peace be your referee. Make the decision that brings you the most peace. After you’ve weighed all the pros and cons and considered all the factors, which decision makes your heart worry the least? It’s not a foolproof system but it’ll definitely make you sleep better at night.