I just got back from having dinner with two of my closest friends, both of whom are feeling really burned out due to stress. It got me thinking about the importance of practicing radical self-care. By self-care, I’m not talking about numbing yourself with food, or zoning out to a show you’re binge-watching (although there’s certainly a time and place for that), but doing something that NURTURES you.
The first thing you need to do is decide you deserve to take care of yourself. Remember what the flight attendant says – put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others! If you are burned out, you’re not only more likely to make mistakes, but you’re more apt to injure yourself or get in a car accident.
Once you’ve given yourself permission to take care of yourself, you need to figure out what nurtures you. I can’t tell you what should be on your list, but I can share mine:
- Listening to piano music
- Reading fiction
- Listening to a guided meditation
- Taking a walk in a wooded area
- Getting a massage
- Taking a hot bath
- Talking to a friend
Besides these activities, I also have to remind myself to let go of being perfect. We often want everything we do to be perfect, which leads to an inordinate amount of stress. Plus, perfection is unattainable, so we’re in a constant state of “not good enough.” Hustling for your worthiness is no way to live. Let the dishes go, and put off the laundry until tomorrow. If you can’t leave certain things for tomorrow, then at least give yourself one hour for self-care. Start there. Set a timer, and give yourself permission to do one of the things on your nurture list. If an hour seems like too much time, I’ll remind you of an old Zen saying,…
Meditate every day for 15 minutes.
If you are too busy, meditate for one hour.
The more you tell yourself, “I can’t take the time” the more time you need!
Now I’d like to hear from you. How do YOU practice radical self-care?