When was the last time you actively scheduled a day, an hour, or even 10 minutes strictly dedicated to caring for yourself? Okay, now what's your excuse?
"I don't have time. "I'm too busy. "I could be doing something much more productive right now." "Who cares?" I care. And if you don't care for your own self, you will never reach your full potential.
Your body is a hard-working machine that hardly gets much rest. I mean, think of all the things it does in 24 hours. Even when you're not doing "anything," it's making your heart beat, pushing blood through every vein in your body, and allowing you to breath the air around you. It literally never stops. Do you know of any other machine that does this, and for 75+ years, nonetheless? In order to keep this machine working to the best of its ability, you need to take care of it. I recommend scheduling a few minutes, or an hour if you have it, to dedicate to self-care. Here's what I do everyday:
1. Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day.
Humans are most efficient when they have a routine schedule. Now, I know that many people don't have the luxury of having the same kind of schedule everyday (heck, I worked in retail!), but you can at least try to find a routine that works for you. I have done so much research on successful people's routines, especially when it comes to sleep, and I've found that the most successful people wake up between 4-6am. Okay, okay. I know what you're thinking, but hear me out. I was the biggest night owl ever, but I would feel so meh when I woke up anytime past 10am. I just felt like I was wasting the day, and it made me less productive because I thought, "Well, I already wasted the whole morning, so I might as well give up on my plans for the day." I recently started waking up at 6am and let me tell you. I have never gotten so many things done in 3 hours in my whole life. And those 3 hours are all about me! I feel well-rested, and I love the fact that I get to cherish the beauty of mornings and solitude before anything else gets to make priorities for me. I don't check my phone until 8:30am, I get to drink tea in silence, read a book, do yoga, and get allllll ready for the day before anyone else can distract me. It is pure bliss, I tell you!
2. Drink a full glass of water.
Yep, I'm going to hound you on this one too, just like your mother, your doctor, and all the other advice columns. Your body is made up of 55%-60% of water, so naturally, we must keep giving it a fresh supply of what it needs. Not only will this revitalize your body after 6-8 hours of fasting, but it will also give you a quick burst of energy as it hits your lips and flows through your body.
3. Stretch your muscles or do some yoga.
You've been lying in a stiff position for a 3rd of the day, and now you've suddenly moved consciously for the first time and feel super tight. You can keep walking around, but you'll never access the full motions of your muscles if you don't stretch. Plus, it feels soooo gooooood. I like to go on Youtube and search for "quick morning yoga stretch.'' From there, I find a video around 5-10 minutes that stretches every part of my body. This will really wake your body up and get it ready for any activities that are coming your way.
4. Practice gratitude.
I was recently gifted The Five-Minute Journal and it has completely changed my perspective on life. Every morning, regardless of all circumstances (that includes running late, which used to be a huge issue for me), you must write down 3 things you're grateful for, 3 things that would make today great, and 1 affirmation for yourself. You'll be surprised how much this changes your mindset and how much better your day becomes, simply because you took the time to look at the most positive things in your life. Setting goals is also a great way to be more productive with your time, and you can't deny that crossing things off your list is just one of the best feelings ever.
5. Get inspired.
This is my favorite part of my self-care practice. For me, it's the most enjoyable practice I do, and it completely opens my mind to all of the possibilities I have with my personal development and the growth of my business. You can listen to podcasts, watch Ted Talks, look up inspirational videos on Youtube, read a blog (hey, girl, hey!), or read an empowering book. I love listening to Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso on my drive to and from work, and when I'm at home in the morning, I grab one of my favorite inspiring books I have pictured below. Right now, I'm reading Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, and it is making me commit to myself like no other!
6. Girl, Wash Your Face... literally
Have a body-care routine! Here's the thing. You've always been told not to care what other people think, and you really, really shouldn't. However, you should care about your own self and your personal opinion of yourself. If you think you look great and you feel great and you're a boss-@$$ lady, then you will exude confidence and feel more empowered to work toward your goals! If you walk out of the house with torn clothing and last night's makeup because you feel like crap, you're not making yourself feel any better and you probably won't be motivated to get anything done that day. “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” - Deion Sanders. So, you need to make it a priority to get up, dress up, and show up... for no one other than yourself. Wear something that makes you feel like a bad@$$, put on some makeup if you want to, and strut your stuff! But first, you need to take care of your natural body. Create a skin, hair, teeth, and nail routine that works for you. These are my favorite products (see below) and you can read all about my routine [in a few days when i post it ;)].
7. Create & work on a hobby or project that means something to you.
I have a million hobbies and goals and dreams and desires... but I realized that I'm not going to get anywhere if I don't actually do anything to work towards them. This is why I have set time aside every single day to work hard with a completely focused work ethic at some point for a specific amount of time every single day. Whether it be improving my singing voice, re-learning guitar, becoming more fluent in Spanish, or working on my media business, I do it every. single. day. No excuses. Take control of your life, make your time yours, and commit yourself to your passions!
8. Do something that makes you happy
It is so easy to get caught up in the repetitive tasks of your daily life and find it hard to maintain a good work-life balance. This is why it's so freaking important to do something that makes you happy each and every day. If you do something you love, whether it's spending 15 minutes jamming out in your room to your favorite album, or watching a movie on Netflix after work, you will feel so much happier and excited about your day than if you just went through the motions of doing what everyone else tells you to do. Try not to get so caught up and distracted by what you have to do, and make time for what you want to do.
Denial. I was always in denial that I physically could not sit still and think of literally nothing for even a second. Whenever my dad or my best friend told me to try it, I would just respond saying, "I can't do it. Guys, like, I physically can't do it.'' They kept telling me to just try it and practice over and over again each day, and that I will eventually get there. It took, mmm, maybe 10 years to actually listen to them and sit down and try it. Life-changing. Meditating allows you to literally not think or worry or stress about anything that is going on around you, and to completely relax your brain. I always feel so refreshed and refocused after even a few minutes of meditating. I highly recommend following along with a guided meditation if you're just starting. My best friend turned me on to the app Insight Timer, and I think it's an excellent place to start.
10. Find what works for you.
Truly, I can go on all day about what works for me, and what works for other people I've talked to, but we are all so unique that one way of practicing self-care won't work for everybody. The whole point of self-care is to create time to focus solely on your whole self and give your body, mind, and heart whatever it needs to feel good. My list is a great place to start, and you can totally do exactly what I do if it works for you. But there are a million different ways to practice self-care. Get in tune with your whole self, and do some intuitive thinking to find what your self truly needs. Then, give it that.
Good luck & Namaste,
About the Author
Leah Jean is a life & success coach to women worldwide, and a self-proclaimed confidence guru. She coaches and inspires women to create the life they have always dreamed of living by gaining confidence, knowing their self worth, becoming financially independent, and enhancing the quality of their daily life and career, all while maintaining a healthy foundation for their mind, body, and soul.