Any time is the right time to practice self-care, but summer seems to the perfect season!
Like many change agents and activists, I’ve had a fire in my belly since a young age. As I matured, I realized that accomplishing any meaningful difference in the world was a daunting task when I was exhausted and drained, mentally and physically.
In order to make a difference for what is important to us, we must be grounded in ourselves and follow our inner guidance.
That comes from practicing self care.
Here are my favorite tips to rejuvenate. With summer nearly here, being in the outdoors, whether it’s taking a hike, walking the dog, or enjoying a garden, carving out time for yourself becomes a joy-filled practice!
The Old 3 R’s Need to Grow into Meaningful 6 R’s
I’m old enough to remember the school days when teachers instructed us in the importance of the 3 R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Now, we need much more than those primary grade basics!
I believe we need to incorporate these 6 R’s into our lives:
Rest, Refill, Reflect, Reprioritize, Rejuvenate and Revolutionize.
“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
– Maya Angelou
That means you need rest. (Yes, you!)
Rest means different things to different people. Some folks unplug from social media and enjoy ‘real’ conversations with family and friends. Others take a break from their computers, others go on vacations.
Rest isn’t a one-size fits all accomplishment! It’s important to me NOT to substitute endless fun activities into my day to ‘rest’ from a real day. I feel just as exhausted. I bet you can relate to that!
And guess what? Rest doesn’t have to be a ‘doing’ thing. Lori Deschene sums it up best:
“Life is all about balance. You don’t always need to get stuff done. Sometimes it’s perfectly ok, and absolutely necessary, to shut down, kick back and do nothing.”
Refill and Reflect: Replenish Your Empty Bucket
I grew up listening to James Taylor and Carole King. Listening to their music brings back pleasant memories; I feel rested, calm and smile as I remember learning to play the guitar so I could make music like that!
Choose relaxing activities; keep away from watching stress-filled movies or situations. I find that we’re more grounded and have greater sense of clarity when choosing activities that fill us up emotionally as well. TV sitcoms may be an enjoyable distraction, but they’re usually not restorative.
As you refill, take time to reflect. How do you spend your day? My life can feel out of control at times, and I know you get that. I developed a very helpful worksheet that you can download from my website, www.drkathyobear.com/selfcare.
What a powerful awareness this tool brings! Once you realize just what you ARE giving time to, this reflection can be a wake-up call to reprioritize your life.
Don’t Say You Don’t Have Time for Yourself: Reprioritize
I bristle when I hear people say they don’t have time for themselves. Get real! You make time for what’s important to you. So you’re telling me you’re not important to yourself, and that’s the path to burnout.
“If you don’t have time for what matters, stop doing this that don’t.”
That makes it plain and clear, doesn’t it?
Set boundaries for yourself. Learn to say no.
Take a serious look at what – or who – drains you. Buddha is believed to have said: “If you cannot find a good companion to walk with, walk alone, like an elephant roaming the jungle. It is better to be alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress.”
Rejuvenate and Revolutionize!
How often do you hear the mantra: Find joy in each day. I scoffed when I first heard it! Now, I realize I’m at my best when I’m feeling joy. Forcing hard work or long hours only gives me the false illusion of being important!
Discover your source of passion and re-connect. And celebrate the small wins along life’s journey instead of focusing on the unpleasantness.
Once we’ve rested, refilled, reflected, reprioritized and rejuvenated, we’re ready to revolutionize and make meaningful changes in our lives so we can stay in the work for the long haul.
There’s no magic wand to changing your life. One woman has her baby shoes hanging on her mirror to remind her: one small baby step at a time – and you’re up and running!
Kick back and listen to a replay of me talking all about self-care with Dr. Tanya Williams, Lead Consultant with Authentic Consulting. In a recent radio show, we covered practical tips and strategies to overcome burnout and passion fatigue as changemakers. Access the replay anytime right here.