Many people find themselves in the bad habit of trying to always help others. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a bad habit or a problem at all.
However, after extended periods of time, we start to prioritize the needs of others over the needs of ourselves, which can lead to some serious long term issues both physically and mentally.
Though it may sound selfish, you need to make yourself a priority.
Why You Need to Practice Self Care
You can’t effectively help others unless you’re in a sound enough state yourself. Instead of devoting as much time as possible to making others happy, let yourself be happy for a change.
Think of it as the flight instructions you get before you take off on a plane. You’re told to put your oxygen mask on before helping others, and there’s good reason for this.
If you fail to put on your oxygen mask in time, you can become afflicted with hypoxia, which can prevent you from being able to help someone else put their mask on.
This same concept applies to self-care. You can’t reliably help others, even if you want to, before you learn how to help yourself.
By taking care of yourself, you’ll learn to live a happier life, which others will take note of and start to possibly improve on theirs as well.
3 Simple Ways to Practice Self Care
If you’ve been putting off self-care for a long time now because you’ve been too focused on everyone else, finally taking the plunge and taking that first step is amazing.
You feel empowered, as if you’re suddenly able to do things you thought were too difficult before!
Now is the moment to take care of YOU, so here are 3 meaningful ways to do so:
Practice Daily Gratitude
Starting a gratitude practice is one of the most powerful things you can do to create huge positive shifts within.
Focusing on what you have to be grateful for forces you to not only become a more positive person - but also lowers your stress, gives you more energy and helps you sleep better.
Gratitude is like a miracle vitamin for your mind, body, and soul and is one of the easiest self-care habits to practice each day. It’s also completely free, so there’s no excuse not to do it!
There are several ways to practice gratitude, and each of these only takes a few minutes each day:
Write your gratitude on a slip of paper, and put it into a gratitude jar. Click here to learn how using a gratitude jar transformed my whole life!
Do a five-minute gratitude meditation. Here’s a link to a lovely guided gratitude meditation.
2. Start a Self-Care Journal
A self-care journal allows you to purge any feelings that weigh heavily on you.
But self-care journaling isn’t only for challenging feelings - the simple practice of writing also helps you to celebrate happy moments and develop a deeper sense of gratitude.
There are many different ways to use a self-care journal, so base your approach on your personality, as well as the time and effort you want to put into it.
Some people thrive writing in an outlined approach that is the same daily with sections titled: Date, Feelings, Experiences.
Others prefer a blank page to create something new in every entry, or to sketch their feelings in pictures and symbols, rather than words.
A purge self-care journal
Simply ask yourself each day, “How do I feel?” and let your heart pour out onto the page. Be honest with yourself and let your feelings flow without filter or judgement. Give yourself permission to get it all out, and let it go. You might find some entries go for pages while others are a few simple paragraphs. There are no rules, so do what feels right.
An Art Self-Care Journal
An art journal is a combination of artwork and words. Your art can be drawn, painted, scrapbooked, or created digitally. Do whatever your muse sees fit. Feel free to mix up the mediums within the practice; you could draw one day, do a poem the next. The most important thing is to have fun with this practice and not judge whatever comes out of you.
A Guided Self-Care Journal
If you want more step-by-step instruction on how to start practicing self-care, as well as a place to track your progress, a guided self-care journal is a wonderful option. There are many beautiful and inspiring self-care journals available online. Here are the bestselling self-care journals on Amazon:
3. Forgive Yourself
Ho'oponopono is the ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness, and one of the most powerful forms of self-care.
The literal translation of Ho'oponopono is: “to put to right; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.”
In a nutshell, it means putting yourself back together, lovingly.
Ho'oponopono is extremely simple, but extremely profound. All it requires is for you to repeat the following mantra throughout the day whenever a challenging feeling or situation arises:
The premise of Ho'oponopono is that we are 100% responsible for everything that comes into our life, and the best way to heal whatever might be showing up is by loving and forgiving it so we can live in total gratitude in the present moment.
It’s easy to spiral into anxiety when something challenging enters our awareness, but this simple mantra helps stop anxious thoughts in their tracks and not take us over.
It is the ultimate form of self-care, and something that will transform you from the inside out when you use it daily.
P.S. For those of you who want to learn more about Ho'oponopono I highly recommend this book by Mabel Katz - it’s life-changing!
Want more ideas on how to love and nurture yourself better? Check out my Self Care Pinterest Board to help you find more!