One of the biggest ways I have learnt to love myself is by taking better care of myself.
Sadly, many of us do not make our self-care a priority. We are rushed with to-do lists bursting, stressed to the max and it seems like there is never enough time… especially for self-care.
I was always someone who pushed myself and always put others’ needs before my own – a type A, “Yes” person, combo. And becoming a mom in the last year has taken things to a whole new level. Inevitably my self-care, fell to the wayside. In one year I had graduated, had a baby, wrote my board exams and started a business… and I also had a recurrence of my autoimmune condition.
I sat down one day with my naturopathic doctor and she took one look at my schedule and told me what I already knew, but didn’t want to admit. I was wwwaaaaayyyyyyy too over-scheduled. I knew she was right – I could feel myself becoming more and more exhausted. But my ego was determined to be a supermom that could do everything, but my body was telling another story. My autoimmune condition was like an alarm bell that was trying to get me to SLOW DOWN! So I decided I had to step off the proverbial treadmill and take better care of myself. I’m a naturopathic doctor for goodness sake – I know what I’m suppose to be doing to take care of myself! I spend my days telling my patients to listen to their bodies and teaching them how to mange stress and take better care of themselves. It was time I practiced what I preached. I decided to tell my ego to take a hike, that it was okay to not be supermom and instead made a commitment to take better care of myself.
I kickstarted my self-care routine into high gear and have begun to get back on track emotionally, physically and spiritually. Ahhhhh…
Here are my top 3 tips on what you can do to take better care of yourself starting today:
1. Sit down and make a list of what YOU NEED to be happy, healthy, and authentically you. This is your NNT – non negotiable time! NNT is time that is non-negotiable and set aside for you to ensure self care. These are simple activities that will help you keep your self care in check. I love Marie Forleo’s video on this. View it here. I suggest planning to carry out your NNT in the morning if possible. That way you establish a routine to start each day that ensures self care and sets you up nicely for the rest of the day.
2. Learn to say ‘no’. I know we have all heard this before but how many of us practice it on a regular basis? I know I was always afraid to say no for fear of making others upset or missing out on opportunities. But being clear about what I can and cannot do – with myself first and foremost – has been life changing. Saying “yes” to others at the expense of my own self care was a huge part of my burn out. When I started to say no I reclaimed a lot of my time and was able to focus on my health goals. Now, whenever I’m asked to do something, I first make sure that I’m not over scheduling myself and ensure that I will still be able to maintain my NNT. Because in the end, what is more important than your health and wellbeing?
3. Indulge in some element of self pampering every day. Whether this is a bath with candles and beautiful bath salts, or treating yourself to a tea latte. It could also be buying yourself a beautiful eco face cream that you use every morning when you wake up or buying yourself a cozy pair of slippers that feel soft on your feet when you get out of bed. Sit and make a list of the things you love, that bring you pleasure, and then decide what you can implement into your day that makes you feel like you are pampering yourself. For example, I love green tea, flowers and chocolate. So I have flowers at my desk and every now and then I have a square of dark chocolate with my favourite tea mid-afternoon. Filling your life with things that you love and pampering yourself this way is an element of self care that people often forget about or feel guilty about doing. No more! It’s not narcissistic, it’s necessary!
Remember, self-care is the best health care.