Sometimes you forget to make time for the most important person to take care of – you.
Everyone’s guilty of this – we get busy with life, work, family, friends and then we end up feeling drained and frustrated, unable to give out best, most confident selves to anything because we’re just burned out.
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Fortunately, there’s a solution. Here are 7 self-care ideas that you can use to take care of you, build inner strength, and give you the gumption to love yourself.
1. Say ‘no’ to more things
The first part of helping yourself that any over-worked entrepreneur will tell you is “say ‘no’ to more things.”
We live and exist in an insanely fast-paced world where we’re encouraged to say ‘yes’ to everything. We’ve gotten to the point now where it’s often not even acceptable to CONSIDER saying no to something!
But when it comes to helping yourself take care of you, saying ‘no’ is one of the best strategies that you can undertake.
First, it frees up more time to do things for you that are relaxing. For example, if someone asks you to do something at work at 4:55 on Friday that you KNOW can wait until Monday, saying ‘no’ means you can leave on time and have a drink with a friend – rather than fuming at the office over the crappy start to the weekend.
Second, when your default is to say ‘no’, it helps you zero in on what’s important to you and why. That focus means that you’re more aware and more engaged in what you’re doing all the time, which creates a more positive mental space and a happier, better-taken care of you.
2. Do something that you enjoy
It doesn’t matter if it’s relaxing and reading a book on Sunday morning or cooking up a storm for some friends. Make sure that you take the time to do the things that you enjoy as often as you can.
There are a couple of tactics that you can use to make sure you actually do this, rather than letting it slide on by:
- Take a class in something you’re interested in
- Try and get someone else excited about what you love so you have someone to share it with
- Join a community that relates to your passion. (For example, if you love knitting, you might join ravelry.com.)
- Block out ‘me’ time in your calendar – and treat it like a date with a friend.
3. Let someone else take care of you
While this DOES involve someone else, so often we find ourselves unable to accept help from someone else. And the thing is, it’s GOOD for us to help others. So when you ask someone to take care of you, you’re actually helping THEM help themselves.
Now, let’s be clear. Having someone else take care of you doesn’t have to be this arduous thing. It can be a spouse making you dinner or taking the kids away so you can have the house to yourself, or a friend agreeing to take you to get a pedicure, or even just someone inviting you over to watch a movie.
For you, all you have to do is learn to accept the kindness when it comes your way.
Preferably on the regular, but if that’s not really your thing, try and get moving when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious. Just being outside and moving for 15-20 minutes can totally change your outlook on life and make you so much happier.
To really get the most benefit from exercise though you’re best to build a system when you exercise at least a little every day. It can be as little as parking the car 10 minutes away and starting and finishing your day with a stroll. Even that little bit will help you be a calmer and mentally healthier you.
5. Cross something off your to-do list
It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Some people even start a to-do list with something that they’ve already done, just so that they can then cross it off (as an aside, this is also why apps will never replace paper completely – there’s nothing quite so satisfying as drawing a big black line through a nasty task).
Anyways, crossing something off your to-do list is both therapeutic and productive. Oftentimes, we’ll find ourselves bouncing from task to task, unable to settle down and FINISH anything. By focusing on just one thing, it will re-centre you and make you feel like you accomplished something. That positively will make the rest of your to-do list a lot more manageable.
For bonus points, try and do a ‘to-do list lurker’ – one of those things on your mind but you just never seem to get around to doing. Crossing that off is a great way to take care of yourself.
6. Fix something
Whether it’s the leaky faucet, your broken stapler, or just replacing the laces in your shoes, fixing something is like the to-do list cross out activity – it brings you an immense sense of satisfaction that sets you up positively for the rest of your day.
Once again, this is especially effective if you fix something you keep meaning to fix and putting off. For example, if a light you love has burned out but it takes some weird, obscure bulb, now is the perfect opportunity to go and replace it.
7. Do something small you already know how to do
We’re always encouraged to push ourselves and grow, but there’s something deeply satisfying about just being good at something. Cooking a recipe you’ve made a thousand times before is a great way to start (plus it solves your dinner plans) but really, doing anything that you’re already good at will help you relax and unwind.
There you have it. Seven fast, easy ways that you can take care of you starting today. You’ll feel better, think more positively, and set yourself up for success rather than failure.
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