Recharge Yourself By Practicing Self Care

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Self care is a practice that helps keep us from getting overwhelmed. When we’re practicing self care, we feel rejuvenated, replenished, and relaxed. It’s something that can make such a huge positive difference in our lives, so it may seem a bit strange that there are times when we fail to follow through.

Excuses, Excuses

I think that we often come up with excuses to avoid taking care of ourselves, because we feel that other things are more important than our own well-being. Some people may prioritize their work, others may prioritize their relationships. Focusing on self care can be difficult when we feel like we don’t have enough time to set aside for the things that we want to do.

The Consequences of Ignoring Self Care

However, think about the consequences of ignoring self care. If you are not taking proper care of yourself, you will not be able to put forth your best efforts to achieve your goals. After all, how can you expect yourself to excel at work or in school when you only had 4 hours of sleep? And isn’t your ability to concentrate going to be compromised if you are ravenous from skipping meals?

Self Care as a Phone Battery

A simple metaphor for how self care works is a phone battery. Doing good things for yourself, like having a good night’s rest or eating a healthy snack can help you recharge. Things like drinking to excess and overbooking your schedule will alternatively drain your batteries.

So here are two things that you can do right now in under 5 minutes to help put you on the right track for your self care practice.

A Quick Breathing Exercise

  • Take a deep breath and blow out slowly. Do this ten times and focus only on your breath. This is a mindfulness practice that will help ground you to your present moment. When you are focusing on the breath, you leave no room in the mind for regrets about the past or worries about the future.

Consider Your Most Pressing Needs

  • Take out a pen and paper, or get out your phone or computer. Ask yourself what your most pressing needs are today and in this present moment. For example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, you may need to delegate some of your tasks or ask for help. If you’re feeling hungry, make sure that you have a healthy snack. If you’re feeling lonely, make plans with a friend to do something fun over the weekend.

 

5 Ways to Express Gratitude

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It’s easy when things are going mostly well for us to get lost on the hedonic treadmill. As our lives improve, we continue to want more and more. But resist the temptation to try and keep up with the Joneses. All is not lost if you can’t get that designer handbag, that expensive gaming computer, or that brand new car.

To combat the tendency to forget our blessings, here are five ways to express your gratitude. 

Exercise Your Talents and Skills

Most people spend so much time bemoaning their flaws, but you will be much happier if you take the time to recognize your strengths. Be grateful for the things that you do well. These talents and skills are a gift.

If you have a good voice or a knack for trivia, put those skills to use. You can spend an evening singing karaoke with friends or go out for pub trivia. Or maybe your skills are more strengths of character. If you are good at making people feel comfortable and at ease, you could host a small dinner party. There are so many possibilities when it comes to finding a way to exercise your talent.

Remember Lessons Learned

People come and go throughout our lives, but we can be grateful for the lessons we have learned from those who are no longer with us.

Your best friend from preschool with whom you’ve lost touch may have taught you the value of friendship. An Ex-Boyfriend who broke your heart may have taught you that you deserve someone who loves and respects you. A grandparent who has passed away may have taught you the importance of spending time with your family. The people that we meet all provide us with opportunities to learn and grow.

To express your gratitude for these lessons learned, write a letter in your journal addressed to the person who affected you. Even though they are no longer with you, you can take time to recognize all that they taught you.

Brainstorm in Your Journal

Write down anything and everything that you are grateful for in your journal. You could start with the big things like love and good health, or start with the small things, like cold brew coffee and blueberry pancakes.

Try to keep on writing for at least 5 to 10 minutes. As your list gets longer, you will have to dig deeper to find all of those wonderful things for which you are grateful.

Give a 30-40% Tip

If you’ve ever worked in food service, then you know how difficult those jobs can be. If not, take the word of a failed barista. Those who are good at customer service only make it look easy.

The next time you interact with that upbeat barista or that server who has the balancing skills of a trapeze artist, bump up that tip to 30-40% to show your gratitude for what they do to make your life a little easier.

Volunteer Your Time

Volunteering for a good cause allows you to express your gratitude for what you have in life by serving others less fortunate than yourself. When you help the homeless, you will remember to be grateful for you home. When you feed the hungry, you will feel gratitude for the food that you eat.

Overcoming Self Doubt

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When you start to doubt yourself, it can be very hard to know what the truth is. There may be times when you look at yourself in the mirror and think, “Why am I not good enough?”.

Maybe you start to pick yourself apart, criticizing everything from the complexion of your skin to the shape of your thighs. Once you get going, the momentum of self doubt can feel unstoppable. There comes a point in all this negative self talk where you want to just give up and let your thoughts take you where they will.

My Experience with Self Doubt

If you are experiencing self doubt, know that you are not alone. There are times when I struggle with self doubt, usually because I am comparing myself to others. Living in such a connected world, you can start to feel lost among so many other people. It’s easy to get obsessed with how many “likes” you get on Facebook or how many people follow you on Instagram.

Reaching Out to Others

What helps me combat self doubt is to reach out to my partner, family, or friends. By telling them what I am feeling, I’m able to feel supported and loved. While being able to reassure yourself is an important skill, in a moment of crisis, you may need to lean on your loved ones. When you are experiencing a lot of self doubt, it can be such a relief to hear from someone who believes you are amazing.

Calling In the Experts

What I also have found very helpful is to speak with a professional. Although some are hesitant to meet with a therapist, I think that therapy is one of the best resources for personal development. During therapy, you can dive down deep into the roots of your self doubt. Understanding why you doubt yourself in the first place can help you to feel more confident in the future.

Imagine the Good

If you’re experiencing self doubt, I want you to fight back. Challenge that negative voice in your head that says you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough. When you start to think about all the bad things that could happen, think instead about what good things might happen.

What if you apply for your dream job and get the position? What if you ask somebody out on a date and they say yes? There is very little that we can know for certain, so why not imagine all of the wonderful things that could be in store for us? Positive events are just as likely as the negative scenarios our minds cook up for us.

An Exercise to Combat Self Doubt

If you’re feeling down on yourself right now, I want to tell you one more trick that I have to help me feel more positive about myself. Grab a piece of paper and write down the things that you wish people would tell you. Write them down, over and over, until you believe that they could be true. For example, I would write, “Caitlin, you are strong and capable. You will find success on your own terms.”

If you’re having trouble thinking of something positive to say to yourself, imagine that you are someone who cares for you and admires you. What would your best friend say? By emulating what loved ones would say to boost your spirits, you can act as your own best friend. Overcoming self doubt is the ultimate form of self care.

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