“The soul has an absolute, unforgiving need for regular excursions into enchantment. It requires them like the body needs food and the mind needs thought.”–Thomas Moore
Self-care is an important component in achieving more balance. Many people put themselves at the bottom of their own list of priorities. The result is burnout, exhaustion and resentment. We are unable to be at our best if we don’t take time out for ourselves to rest, relax and renew. It does not have to be difficult or overly time-consuming. Anything that helps us feel more positive and joyful is self-nurturing. I’ve listed 16 possibilities below. Think about simple pleasures that speak to you personally and incorporate them into your life each and every day. The result? A more balanced, happier, and healthier you!
1. Breathe – You always have your breath available to you, at any given moment during the day. When we are under stress, we take very shallow breaths. Whenever you remember, take a few nice deep breaths, breathe in through your nose all the way down into your stomach, inflating it like a balloon as you inhale and deflating it as you exhale through your mouth. It is a simple, natural way to help you relax throughout the day, and it is especially good to do when you are under stress.
2. Take a walk – People who get physical for just 30 minutes a day cut their stress and anxiety by almost a third. In addition, in a study on walking and cognitive function, researchers found that women who walked the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week. Think about that!
3. Start a gratitude journal and express your thanks on a daily basis – Write down at least five things that you are genuinely grateful for. Maintaining a gratitude journal makes it easy to get in the habit of focusing on the positive in your life.
4. Get rid of anything you are doing that is coming from a “should” – Fatigue is often the result of doing things our of guilt or obligation. If you hear yourself saying “should” in a sentence, stop and check in to see if it is something that you truly CHOOSE to do.
5. Take time to unplug from all of your electronic devices – Because of technology, some people feel distracted – they can’t focus, that they can’t pay attention to what’s in front of them because their minds keep jumping around. They aren’t getting their work done; they’re not paying attention to their kids. Find a strategy that works for you to periodically “disconnect” from technology.
6. Drink herbal tea – Herbal tea is calming and relaxing. For example, Chamomile and Valerian both encourage a restful sleep. And, Lemon balm also provides soothing to the nerves.
7. Remove clutter – Your environment has an effect on you, your thoughts, your relationships, and even your career. Why not take steps to improve your surroundings around you and create balance in every aspect of your life?
8. Make time for prayer and meditation – Prayer and meditation play as important a role in your overall wealth and well being as sleeping, eating and exercising. The scientifically proven benefits include reduced blood pressure and increased attention. I’ve also seen that prayer and meditation gives you the necessary mental perspective and emotional stability you need to have peace. By pausing for even a few minutes, you can transition from taking action from instinctual stress reactions to instead from your true beliefs and values.
9. Take a detox bath once every 1 – 2 weeks – Detox baths get rid of toxins in your body, provide a nurturing experience, and soothes stiff joints
DETOX BATH SUGGESTION
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 cup Epsom salt
Soak for at least 20 minutes every week or 40 minutes every 2 weeks.
10. Reframe a negative thought into a positive or neutral one – You can reframe your negative thoughts about yourself or how you are currently viewing a situation with a conscious decision to focus on positive ones that are more rational, optimistic or productive.
11. Choose your battles – Not only will picking your battles lead to a more peaceful existence, it’s also likely to strengthen your interpersonal relationships. We’re all given a finite amount of time in a day, and it’s up to each of us to determine how to spend it. In relationships (with kids, with a spouse, and so on), we’re faced with many conflicts everyday, and you may be tempted to fight through each of these conflicts, to ensure you get your way, to prove that you’re “right,” or maybe just because you feel challenged. But most experts agree: choosing your battles wisely is a much better way of life than battling out every disagreement.
I encourage you to put one or two of these techniques into practice today. I also want to acknowledge that taking even small steps can be very challenging for busy entrepreneurs. Therefore, I would recommend you get support from a friend, family member, colleague or a coach that can provide accountability and encouragement.