By Michelle C. Fernandez, Ph.D., Guest ContributorApril 15, 2016
Pouring your love, light, talents, and power into all you do is inspiring! It’s also pretty exhausting. Taking time each day to practice self-care can help avoid burnout and fill you with the energy you need to keep shining.
A commitment to being kind to your body, mind, and spirit means creating a habit of honoring your unique and important self.
This is hard to do and there will be days that taking care of yourself feels impossible. It isn’t. On those days, take care of yourself by asking others take care of you. Give these a try because YOU matter!
Rest: Allow your body and mind to take breaks...
- Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each day
- Practice mindfulness by focusing your attention on your senses
- Distract yourself by doing something you enjoy
- Explore meditation or visualization exercises to self-soothe
Reflect: Get to know yourself better...
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Be proud of your successes
- Give yourself permission to be a work in progress
- Challenge negative self-talk
- Honor your creativity and passions
Connect: Create meaningful interactions...
- Define your boundaries and stick to them
- Be vulnerable and share your truth
- Ask for support or help when you need it
- Seek clarification
- Practice gratitude
Nourish: Fill yourself with good things...
- Fuel your body with good food and good vibes
- Read and watch whatever lifts and inspires you
- Fill your mind with thoughts of confidence and power
Move: Be fluid
- Celebrate your body and what it does for you everyday
- Explore different ways to engage your body in activity
- Make the decision to take small steps towards physical, emotional, or spiritual growth
- Know there are days that will feel stuck (in a feeling, a situation); don’t quit and keep moving
Feelings tend to show up without permission and they can be difficult to manage. Sometimes strong emotions lead to more than just burnout and require special attention by a professional. Seek help if you find yourself experiencing changes in appetite or sleep habits, lose interest in enjoyable activities, find radical shifts in your social life, have difficulty keeping up with daily responsibilities, experience shifts in mood and/or behaviors, or have feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. You are worthy of the extra care!
Give one of Michelle’s great strategies a try and let us know what you discovered. Why do you think it’s especially hard for girls and women to practice self-care? How can we change culture so that we are all more supported in our needs?
Michelle C. Fernandez, Ph.D. earned her doctorate degree in psychology and is passionate about mental health. She is invested in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness and wishes to empower others to seek support when needed. She lives in Miami, Florida with her two daughters and husband.