February is here! It’s, of course, the month of love. Valentine’s isn’t my most favorite holiday, but it does always bring that theme of love to the forefront–whether it is romantic love with your partner, loving on your clients, loving on your friends, or (as the subject line alludes) loving on yourself!
What do I mean by this? It means, yes, that nearly over-used term, SELF CARE. But what is self care really? And how does it take care of our business? I have to say, we hear about self care all the time. But as I talk to people in business, clients and friends of mine, so many don’t even know how to THINK about self care much less ENGAGE in self care. There are many, many things we can do for self care, but I think it’s time to go further. As I like to do in so many things, it’s time to think about this important part of our lives from outside the box.
Many times, we just think of self care as exercise, bubble baths, massages, mani/pedis, facials, etc. Yes, these are all important, and all an aspect of “self-care.” But what I would like you to hear from me is that I think of my exercise and massages as ESSENTIAL for me to keep my body going and able to do the things I love as well as keep me fresh for my business. They are not just self care. The mistake people make is they think self care is indulgence. I would like you to FLIP THAT. It’s not indulgent–it’s ESSENTIAL so you do not burn out and for to be the best YOU in work and in life.
So what could self-care (essential care) look like for you outside of the obvious?
1. Go Outside.
I know. This one seems obvious, but not everyone is doing it. They’re exercising inside. They’re working inside. They’re eating inside. They’re not seeking the sun. The crazy thing is that 50% of the population of the WORLD has a vitamin D inefficiency, and one billion people have a deficiency. While we do need to take in D through diet, 50-90% of this vitamin is absorbed through the skin. Please GO OUTSIDE. Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones and overall heath, plus sunshine is good for the soul–you’ll be happier and more energetic for it.
2. Turn Off Your Screen.
I know some of you think your “me time” is when you watch TV or scroll your social media. Turning off the screen lets your brain relax and let’s you not feel anxious, overwhelmed or checked out. Now in COVID more than ever, we’re spending more time with our screens than with people. Let yourself rest! Don’t pick up your phone first thing. Enjoy that cup of coffee and just meditate or plan your day without a screen. Put down the phone and have lunch with an actual book or a person (if you’re home, it could be your S.O. or someone you love). Put your phone and screen away at the end of your work day so you can be present for your family and whatever you’re doing at night–END YOUR WORKDAY! Turning your device off or leaving it in another room will help you BE PRESENT right where you are. THIS, my friends, is self care AND taking care of others. Just about EVERYTHING is more important than that screen. Be present. Take care of you. You, my friend, are essential as are those around you. Treat them as such!
3. Feed Your Brain.
Engage in some sort of professional or personal development. Engage in a hobby–what have you stopped doing that you love? What would you like to start doing that would fill your soul? Take part in a mastermind. Go beyond what you normally do. Create time for this thing. Stop just wishing or thinking “I really should do that . . .” You. Must. Make. Time. I found myself not really fueling my brain over the last several months because I always listened to my business books and podcasts in the car. Well, guess what? I’m never in my car anymore! So I’ve built at least 30 minutes everyday to sit, put in my headphones, and listen to a book or simply read a book. I even redecorated my office, putting a reading corner in there so I have an enticing place to go. If it didn’t work, I was all ready to actually drive around town for 30 minutes to make myself listen and turn all else off! Be creative! What do you need? Aren’t your brain and your soul essential?
As a productivity trainer, of course, I would say this! But truly, what are THE MOST IMPORTANT things and people throughout your day? All are not equal. Let me say this again–All. Are. Not. Equal. Some things are going to drive your business forward. Some are going to feed your soul, and some are going to feed your relationships. By saying NO, you are taking care of YOU. You are deciding what is essential. And remember, that’s what this is about–what is ESSENTIAL to making you happy, whole, productive and a better you. Prioritizing means saying yes to SOME things and saying no to MORE things.
5. Say Thank You.
Believe it or not, saying thank you takes care of you as much as it takes care of others. Yes, gratitude is important in looking around and being grateful for the things we see or have or happen. Many talk about or use gratitude journals as part of their morning or daily routine. But I am talking about expressing your gratitude toward others. See what happens when you write a note or acknowledge something that someone else did that made an impact on you in a small or big way. Building relationships and making your feelings known is essential to your health!
This is not even close to all the things you can do to take care of you. To “love on yourself.” We take so much time pushing through, grinding out our business, trying to make everyone happy. It’s time to stop and think about what feeds YOU. Slow down. Get real. Decide what is ESSENTIAL. No, actually. Make YOU ESSENTIAL. Decide. Act. Be better to you. All things will improve because you did.