Just about everyone is familiar with Superman and his very high level of strength. Despite the strength that he holds, when he is exposed to Kryptonite he is automatically weakened and unable to reach his full potential.
I often learn the hard way what my Kryptonite is–the same Kryptonite that negatively impacts women all over the world: our inability to naturally practice self-care. Yeah, sure we have no problem with being superwomen…taking on more than we should, making the lives of others around us easier, and of course, always sacrificing for those we love and care about. But at what point do we ensure that we are constantly refilling, reviving, and re-energizing ourselves before it’s too late, and we reach that awful b-word–burnt out?
Someone recently shared with me the importance of making self-care a lifestyle rather than an every now and then practice. It sounds so simple–yeah make sure I’m taking care of myself often rather than when I reach that “burnt-out state.” I’ve been seeing that this is where that saying “easier said than done” fully applies. We are all guilty of reaching the new year and genuinely wanting to incorporate some life changes to help ourselves in our self-care walk. I’ve realized that self-care doesn’t have to be jumping head first into the latest diet or exercise plan, but it can be something that makes me feel like I am living each day as my authentic self and allowing myself to focus on what fills me up when life’s stresses empty me.
Recently when taking a week to myself to reflect and focus on what things truly bring me peace and joy, I identified five things that have shifted my life and allowed me to be closer to the lifestyle I want for myself.
It’s Okay to Say No:
Like most women, I often struggled with the aspect of boundary setting. Whether it’s because we think saying no to people is mean, selfish, or makes us weak–when we fail to set boundaries with others we are not allowing ourselves to refuel ourselves the way we need. So rather than allowing yourself to suffer from a buildup of not advocating for your own needs, it’s crucial to start identifying what things you should or shouldn’t be saying no to.
Our day is bombarded with emails, text messages, phone calls, social media, etc. So many notifications and alerts always in the palm of our hand. Whether it’s an iPhone or Android–our devices these days make us plugged into any and everything at all times. Setting aside some time to just forget about my phone allows me to be more in tune with myself and my needs. I recently started taking time out of each day to just be completely technology free. This allows me to have some well-needed “me time” and just unplug from every ding and chime of my phone. Social Media fasts, though they can be very hard at first, allow us to experience each moment to the fullest and not constantly have the desire to ease our stresses by scrolling through a page or feed.
Sunlight does wonders! Being inside an office all day is enough to impact someone’s mood and wellbeing, but taking time to go for a quick walk during your lunch break or eating outside rather than indoors all the time, can help to naturally help yourself relax and focus on your health. Living in the city has its perks and disadvantages when it comes to getting that outdoor time. I recently started increasing my outdoor moments by biking more and sitting outside after a long day. My new favorite summertime daily practice for my city life is choosing to take the metro to a few stops before my home station after work so that I can walk the rest of the way home. Though it’s only a 20-minute walk, I use that time be at peace after work, enjoy nature, call my grandmother, or just listen to music or my recorded affirmations on ThinkUp–something way more peaceful than sitting on a crowded or stuffy metro train.
Do Something You Enjoy:
Yeah, every day cannot be filled with only doing all of my favorite things, but spending at least one moment of my day to do something that makes me genuinely happy makes a huge difference in mood and even my performance level at work. Whether it’s taking time to watch your favorite TV show each night or having your favorite drink or snack throughout the day, incorporating things into your day that bring you joy goes a long way. I started doing this by developing my own self-care jar. Making it was a self-care practice in itself. By taking time to focus on the little things that bring me joy, relieve stress, and keep me uplifted, I was able to fill a jar of go-to activities for me practice self-care each day!
Focus on Spiritual Practices:
Spiritual practices have proven to be very effective in decreasing one’s stress level and ability to cope with adversity in their life. Whether it’s meditating, yoga, prayer, or journaling, figure out the spiritual practice or practices that work best for you! One of my favorite practices to do with my close friends is to reflect on scriptures of gratitude and do weekly gratitude check-ins. Taking the time to write out what I am grateful for when I wake up, during lunch, and before going to bed brings me so much peace, especially during seasons of discontent or difficulty.
Starting off with these five habits have allowed me to actively make self-care a lifestyle for myself. Want to start focusing on your self-care? Use the Self-Care Planning List to identify what things can help make up your list of self-care practices so you can overcome your Kryptonite and continue to refuel yourself!