“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.”
A friend once shared with me these wise words, do something good for yourself every day, every week, every month, every year. Like they say during pre-flight announcements, put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping those around you. The same applies to life, you need to feel healthy, strong and nourished in order to be able to give your best to your family, friends, job etc. Not taking time for self care, can leave you feeling rundown, empty, and irritable, with not a lot to offer anyone. Only when you take care of and love YOU, can you truly take care of and love others.
In our fast paced lives, it’s easy to neglect simple things that recharge our body, mind and spirit; however doing this will help us be better prepared for life’s stressors. Regular self-care can help you reduce stress, be more focused, have more energy and have a happier outlook on life. I challenge you to create your own self-care plan that will help you to replenish your gas tank on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It doesn’t even have to be a large amount of time, it can be a few minutes here and there throughout the day. Here’s how to start:
- List 3-5 activities that help you recharge your mind (ie. Reading, writing, learning, listening to music).
- List 3-5 activities that help you recharge your body (ie. Exercise, eating well, massage, yoga, a cup of tea, more sleep).
- List 3-5 activities that make your soul come alive (ie. Being with friends/loved ones, being in nature, spiritual practices, meditation, being playful, cuddling with loved ones/pets, dancing).
- Writing things down makes them more real, and more likely to happen. Pull out your calendar, pick some activities you listed in steps 1-3 and add them to the calendar (with reminder alerts). Add a mix from each category and make sure there’s at least one thing that you’re doing for yourself daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Here’s a sample self care plan:
-Taking five deep breaths upon waking, and saying a positive affirmation. (2 mins)
-Listening to favorite music or an inspiring audio book driving to/from work (20 mins)
-Take a tea break (5 mins)
-Taking a walk/stretch break during lunch (20 mins)
-Before bed, reflect on things I’m grateful for. (5 mins)
-Yoga or exercise class (60 mins)
-Dinner with friends
-Nourishing Treatment: Massage, Acupuncture.
-Vacation or weekend retreat (mind/spirit).
For each item you added to your calendar, make a list of things you need to do to make each one happen, then take action! You’ll be amazed how dedicating just a few minutes a day to yourself will help to refuel and recharge you.