Taking care of yourself in a world that is so fixated on preaching to others to put everyone else first except themselves may sound like a selfish thing to do. You may find yourself consumed with emotions of guilt and shame for putting your needs above others if you struggle with people-pleasing.
Let me reassure you, it is indeed a selfish and necessary thing to take care of yourself. I want you to feel brave and proud that for once in your lifetime you are being deliberate in taking good care of yourself.
You are worthy and deserving of a good life. You deserve to feel good about yourself and you can only feel this way by prioritizing your needs. Only can you be of good use to others when you are feeling good about yourself. When you are not prioritizing yourself, you may end up feeling frustrated and taking it out on the same people you mean to take care of. So, here is what it looks like to take care of yourself.
Learn to say No
I know how hard it is to say No to people you love. What is the purpose of saying yes to others when you know deep down you are saying No to yourself? Often we say yes out of guilt, out of fear of the perception people may suddenly have about us. This does not serve us in any good way. Saying Yes when you mean to say No is self-betrayal. Since we are taking care of ourselves, you need to ditch betraying yourself to keep others happy.
That trip you didn’t budget for? That lunch with people whose company you despise? The last-minute invitation? Say No and don’t explain yourself. People who aren’t used to hearing a No from you may resort to all forms of manipulation to try and get you to agree to things you do not want. Remember all you have to do is say No and stick to your decision. If ever you feel guilty, remember your well-being comes first. We are no longer compromising ourselves to keep others happy because we matter just as much as others.
Stop overextending yourself
There are times when we offer ourselves when nobody asked. I realize it sounds like generosity at times. What about the times when we are certain that we have offered ourselves out of a need of being accepted? If you find yourself in corners where you need to perform by offering yourself or doing things for others to be accepted, you are in the wrong space.
These kinds of connections thrive when we do not believe that we are worthy of being accepted just as we are. You are responsible for figuring out why you feel you need to perform for acceptance. When you discover the why, work on yourself to get into a better state. Once you figure out the why, search for belonging and connection in communities that accept you as you are. They exist.
Make no effort to spend time with painful people
Avoid painful people as much as you can, you know them. The ones who are constantly complaining about their cheating partners, the ones whose life is never filled with anything good and are committed to being as negative as they can at all times. The ones you have one-sided relationships with where it is never for a single moment about you, you know what I am talking about.
These connections can drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted, uninspired, or with very little time to attend to your own life. My biggest weapon with these kinds of connections is always staying busy, even when that busy involves spending the day in bed. As long as I do not have to share a single moment of my life with painful people.
Let go of the past
Holding on to what you have left in the past will hold you back from ever seeing the beautiful possibilities of the future. The past serves us in no way so let it go, its failures, painful experiences, and its people. Apart from taking lessons from the past, there is nothing left there for you. So fly on and aim for the beautiful future that awaits you.
Get in those hours of sleep
Depriving yourself of sleep may have long-term effects on your overall health. Lack of sleep leaves you feeling exhausted and with very little chances of productivity. So make time for 6-8 hours of sleep(“I know rich people don’t sleep 8, hours but please man”) to give your body rest.
Your bedroom should have fewer distractions that may impact your sleep routines such as cellphones and laptops. I know how hard it is to not keep up with the latest trends on social media. The world will not fall apart because you were offline.
Stress can also contribute to a lack of sleep. Try to find out what it is that may be stressing you and find a way to deal with it. If it is too much to handle seek help from professionals or talk to a trusted friend. You will be surprised how much help you can get by reaching out.
Decide to eat healthily and stick to it
Part of self-care is eating the right foods such as fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. Your body deserves nourishing healthy foods. Get in the habit of choosing the right food and portion all the time. As part of making it easier to stick to healthy food, try meal preparations to avoid getting tempted during the week.
Take yourself on a trip
That trip you have been putting off for a while waiting for everyone else you have formed a WhatsApp group with to be ready, pack your bags and go alone. Waiting for everyone to be done with their excuses may see you waiting for a while. Why not leave your travel mates and spend some time exploring new cities and living your best life. Taking care of yourself includes offering yourself opportunities to explore new places outside your comfort zone. Go meet new people, and try out all new activities you can think of.
Go for a walk in nature
You will be surprised at how a walk in nature may leave you feeling rejuvenated. Not only does it benefit your fitness goals to take random walks in nature, but it is also good for your soul and mental wellness. Walking in nature calms your nerves and overall reduces your stress levels.
If you can afford it, pay someone else to do it
There are things you can pay for to bring ease into your life. In a world that celebrates being superhuman, you may want to disregard the concept of doing everything yourself. This will free up some time for you to do things you truly enjoy.
There are tasks that you can pay someone else to do for you if you can afford them. Free as much time as you can to avoid getting yourself overworked and burnt out all because you are trying to be a superhero who can do everything by yourself. You are human and you deserve to rest and a life of ease. Your value is not dependent on how much pressure you can expose yourself to, give yourself a break.
Try to stay organized
To avoid getting frustrated and stressed during the day, try to stay organized. Creating daily task management can be of help. Knowing what you are expecting from yourself the following day is helpful in terms of avoiding being all over the place.
If you are lazy to carry a notebook, you can opt for an app on your mobile phone to manage your tasks and any personal projects. My absolute favorite app that I can not live without is Asana. It helps me stay organized and also prevents me from multitasking. By creating projects and tasks associated with a particular project helps me focus on accomplishing one task at a time.