Do you struggle to put you and your needs at the top of your to-do list? Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day. Read on to find out Certified Coach and NLP Master Practitioner Jeni Carroll shares her top five quick & simple self-care tips to put yourself first with zero guilt.
“For many years I pushed my happiness to one side in favour of my career and the demands of others.
I’d gone from having a real zest for life to always feeling tired and low energy. While I craved balance and freedom, I was so caught up in the busyness of my life that I felt constantly pulled in a million different directions.
I thought, ‘it’s OK, I can rest when this project has finished’ except there was always another, even more important one, waiting in the wings.
I share this because perhaps it resonates.
How often do YOU put yourself and the things you love at the top of your list?
My bet is you have the best intentions but as your day pans out those self-care intentions can fall to the bottom of the pile.
This is something many of my clients struggle with as we’ve been so conditioned to always be working hard and to be productive – so any down time for self-care can feel, well just plain wrong.
Put yourself first
Putting ourselves first doesn’t just apply to rest though. It can be taking a new class that you’ve always wanted to do – I’m currently learning ballet again in my 40s! – or taking Saturday mornings to go to the gym, whatever lights you up!
The challenge here is that for so many of us putting ourselves first can lead to a big helping of guilt and this is something I’m passionate about changing – helping women to put themselves first, feel good about it and achieve more than ever before.
Here are my favorite self-care tips to start making a change in your life today.
No 1. Press pause for self-care
All of my wellbeing activities would go out of the window in favor of focusing on whatever was stressing me in the moment, and fixing that before I was ‘allowed’ to prioritise me.
There’s a great meme where a caveman is pushing a wheelbarrow with a square wheel, and his friend offers a round wheel, but he’s too busy to stop, take a few minutes to change his wheel and then continue much more smoothly.
We can all look at that meme and agree that the best option is to stop, but when you’re in the thick of it, well that’s a different story!
Pausing and taking a breath can help to ground you and make things feel more manageable. Try a simple box breath, in for 3, hold for 3, out for 3 and hold for 3. Repeat this for a few minutes and see how you feel.
No 2: Create perspective
My favourite way to do this is to download everything on a big sheet of A3 paper. Even the act of downloading everything from your brain can really help! Make sure you include creating time for you and the things you love on here.
Now I want you to get clear on the things that are completely out of your control – in which case you can cross them straight off your list!
Then take a look at the things you can have some influence on and focus your energy here. What’s one small step you can take to move each of these things forward?
And if your to-do list is still feeling out of control, remember only to do the things that really need your skills and expertise. Delegate the rest or de-prioritise.
No.3: Morning me time for self-care
How do you start your mornings? Running late? Scrolling through work emails before you’ve even got out of bed? I hear you! And with many of us still working from home, the boundaries can be even more blurred.
You don’t need to get up at 5am and do hours of yoga and meditation, but pick out a couple of things that are just for you and build in time for these each day.
Rather than reaching for your phone, make a nice coffee and read a few pages of a good book. You could also try a walk round the block to clear your head before you start your day.
This self-care time will help you to feel more centred and grounded and invariably leads to a better and more productive day.
No. 4: No is a complete sentence.
If looking at your diary makes you sigh and you find yourself thinking ‘I should do that’ rather than feeling excited about it, then that’s a sign that you need to put a boundary in to support you to say ‘no’ more.
And the best bit about saying no? It frees up time for you to say yes to the things that light you up!
It can feel really uncomfortable to just say no to something. So often we feel the need to keep talking to justify our decision. Know that you don’t have to give a reason! But this can be hard at first so if makes you feel more comfortable then you can try saying something like ‘thanks so much for thinking of me but my schedule won’t support this right now’
No 5 – Remember you’re allowed to have fun before all of the work is done.
This one sounds so simple but it’s the thing we can struggle with the most. You do not have to push your happiness to the weekend, or to your next holiday, or even to when this project is finished. Because trust me, there will always be another one waiting for you!
The trick is to find joy in the day to day. To make time for the things that light you up as well as the work you need to get through. If you find yourself thinking ‘oh, I’ll just work through lunch so I can get X finished’ then I challenge you to step away! Even if it’s just 20 minutes, you’ll be amazed at the perspective a break can bring.
I hope you find these tips useful and they start you on a journey* to prioritising your needs and ultimately creating more time, energy and joy in your life.”
Thank you Jeni for sharing your self-care wisdom.
I’m all about helping midlife women feel fab through activation so that they can make choices based on their dreams, not on what energy they have left depending on their burn out level or how tired they feel…
Interested in learning how you can do one breathtakingly simple thing every day? Check out our unique, clinically proven antioxidant activator (click on the flag in the top left hand corner to change to your country) and start supporting your wellbeing: you’ll thank yourself just like tens of thousands of others who took a look do.
For more simple biohacking tips, check out this blog post.