Last week we talked about the difficulties of self-care; this week I would like to offer sone strategies to doing just that. Remember, if you ignore your own self care needs, you may become drained, angry and resentful. When your physical and emotional “pitcher” is empty, you cannot pour love and help on anyone else.
First, let’s make a list of what YOU need for YOUR self-care! Which of these do you need?
- Enough Sleep: most of us need 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night. Are you an early riser or a night owl? Let your schedule match your preferences; let those around you know what it is and when you are available.
- You deserve time to do what you love and want to do for relaxation; is that a nap or time to read a novel? Time in the garage or in your craft space?
- Spirituality; time to nourish the real you – the “wise person within” – prayer, meditation, quiet time, journaling, tapping, coloring, mandalas, yoga, time in nature, whatever activities restore you.
- High nutrient foods: the body needs to be fed every three to five hours while awake, and it needs nutrient rich foods to repair, replace and maintain itself. Eat some protein at every meal or snack. Even if you are also eating abusively, give your body the nutrients it needs to take care of itself and keep you well.
- Speak kindly to yourself. Refrain from mental self-abuse. Shield your self from all negativity. Turn all your habitual negative phrases into positive sentences.
- We need other people who believe in us and share our beliefs and values to keep us moving towards our goals. Reach out to people you like and trust, in your program or not, and create relationships that support you in achieving what you want in life.
Now we need to look at what to do when other people make excessive or inappropriate demands on our time and energy. First, I suggest you share with people close to you – and those you need to support you – and those who tend to sabotage you – what your intention is and what your goals are and/or what changes you intend to make. Ask for their co-operation, support, help. But we must protect ourselves when family members or others are not supportive of our needs. Here are five simple (and very direct) answers to those issues:
- No…… Maybe you did not hear me? …….. No.
- No, thank you. It looks lovely (or would be a great experience or any compliment to what is offered) but I don’t care for any, thank you.
- I can be available to help you with that on (name your date and time).
- I’m sorry I really need to (go to bed? Take a walk? Finish this project?) right now. I can help you at this (name time, date, place).
- Have we talked about this before? Did I not tell you I would no longer be available for or willing to (do, be, eat, handle) this (object, affair, food) right now and for the foreseeable future?
- I know, I have been back and forth and up and down with this; but this time I am really determined and I am getting extra help from (name your sources) and I would appreciate your cooperation and help.
- I think I have said that already – perhaps you did not hear me? The answer is NO.
Now these sentences are very direct and meant for those who are related to your life and have opinions about your food plan. There are other times when the problems are involving other people and requirements, and you need to make adjustments to your own life to take care of others who are unable to handle their life situations by themselves. For example, when you have a small baby; when you need to take a family member to the hospital; when another kind of emergency occurs; when someone you love needs your help. Do what seems right to you at the time; check in with those you trust; get back to your care plan as quickly as possible. Please do not allow yourself to go down the rabbit hole to where you once were; get back on track as quickly as you can.
And ask for help. Call those who you trust and ask for what you need. Most will be happy to help with a reasonable request.
And I am honored to be one of those you might call for help!
Blessings to you,