Earlier this week I talked about the true meaning of self care (love and kindness toward yourself).
I also discussed the BIG things that change when you treat yourself with love. You naturally shift toward healthier choices. You set healthy boundaries. And you become CONSISTENT with actions that bring you more happiness.
So what are the best ways to make self care into action, not theory?
When I struggle, I think of myself as a plant. If a plant is wilting, we water it. We might feed it. We make sure it’s getting the right amount of light. If we do that regularly, the plant will grow and thrive.
Humans aren’t so different. We just THINK we are because our big brains like to make things complicated.
But when in doubt, always start simple.
So here are my TOP 3 recommendations for simple self-care steps. They may sound basic. But I know from talking to hundreds of people in clinic that MOST of us AREN’T doing these three things regularly.
If we do, our lives change for the better.
#1: Rest on a CONSISTENT schedule: go to bed at the same time every night, preferably no later than 11 pm. Get up at the same time every morning. Sleep for 8 hours if you can.
There are times this isn’t possible (nursing babies, night jobs, etc.) But for most of us, we just don’t always choose to do it.
Sleep is when we heal. Our cells repair themselves, our brain processes emotions and experiences, our nervous system shifts out of stress/activation mode.
To allow ourselves this healing time is a huge act of loving kindness.
(If you have trouble sleeping, remember rest is also beneficial. Relax your muscles, take deep slow breaths, and know that you’re still treating yourself with care by taking time to rest.)
#2: Drink water. Think back to the plant. Just like a plant, we’re mostly water. And just like a plant, we wilt when dehydrated – even if we can’t always see it.
Without adequate water, our digestion and nutrient absorption is compromised, our thinking gets cloudy, our muscles get tight, our joints lack proper lubrication…the list goes on.
If you begin drinking enough water regularly, you WILL feel more awake, alert, and energized. And that makes it easier to do all the other things that improve your life.
#3: Take time EVERY DAY to sit quietly and breathe. You might think “I don’t have time for that.” Or “I tried meditating and it didn’t work for me.”
But you only need a few minutes, and you don’t have to think of this as meditating. It’s just sitting quietly, breathing, wherever you’re comfortable.
When you take 5-10 minutes a day to do this, you send a signal to your nervous system that all is well. It’s a POWERFUL reset button for our busy, stressful lives.
Please know this: your mind WILL wander. You’ll have thoughts. That’s okay, the goal isn’t to stop thinking.
Every time you gently shift your attention back to your breathing, you’re loving yourself. You’re gaining a moment to treat yourself with kindness instead of thinking “Stupid brain, shut up!”
When you make this a daily practice, your self-directed kindness muscles grow stronger. You’ll notice that you’re nicer to yourself at other times too. Your entire relationship with yourself begins to shift in profound, lovely ways.
And that’s it. Do these 3 simple things and notice what changes. You are 100% worth it.
P.S. Don’t forget your initial consultation is free. Come into the office to talk about your health goals and see if acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a good fit. Click the schedule button in the upper righthand corner of this page to request a consultation time.