Exploring Self-Compassion and Self-Care

It seems that every Monday you are already asking yourself, “Is it the weekend yet?!” You work forty-plus hours a week, sitting at your desk, counting away the minutes until the end the day. You work the light out of the day to accomplish your goals, expectations and deadlines. You constantly say to yourself, “Just make it to the weekend and you can rest and enjoy yourself again.”

I choose to ask you, why? Why have you not created a space for yourself to find relief and rest from your daily stressors? You take care of your tasks and to-do lists, but are you taking care of “you”?

I challenge you to think about how much time a day you set aside to take care of yourself. Self-care and self-compassion are a priority and a necessity, not a luxury.

Self-care goes hand in hand with self-compassion. Being compassionate to yourself is the first step in being compassionate to others. How can you expect yourself to be kind and understanding to others if you cannot practice these principals with yourself? Self-compassion means you forgive yourself when confronted with your own failings and shortcomings. Notice your imperfections and struggles, and allow that same warmth and care for others to be imbued upon yourself. Allow yourself to accept that you are neither perfect nor impervious to life’s stressors, limitations and mistakes, and to accept that you too are human.

Practicing self-care and self-compassion can be a simple habit to weave into your daily routine. They do not take up a lot of time, and can be fun and enjoyable! Self-care practices are for your mind, your body and your soul. Remember: to be at your best, and perform at your best, you need to take care of your best asset—you!

These self-care and self-compassion practices will not cure everything overnight, and they should not be another task to check off on your to-do list. Although they are simple and undemanding, they require constant practice. Here are some suggestions.

Self-Care for the Mind

Compliment yourself. Write down positive things you did that day, write down positive things people said about you and file them away for when you need a reminder.

Get out of your comfort zone. Take a new way to work, talk to someone at the bus stop or coffee shop or try a restaurant you’ve never been to before.

Be selfish. Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.

Self-Care for the Body

Have a bellyaching laugh. Share it with friends or just with yourself.

Be still. Sit down in the middle of somewhere green—as or at least away from everyone else—and quietly enjoy the calmness.

Make one healthy addition to your diet. Add a glass of water to every meal, explore new fruits, vegetables and produce, take the stairs instead of the elevator and park farther away from your destination.

Self-Care for the Soul

Turn all devices to airplane mode and turn off all the screens you stare at all day. Enjoy the present moment of where you are and all that is around you.

Self-love. Think of three things you love about being you. Look in the mirror and say it to yourself.

Help someone. Open the door for others, help someone carry an extra heavy grocery bag, give someone your place in line or give someone a compliment.

Fill in the Blank

Ask yourself this question now, and fill in the blank. “When I am in pain, physical or emotional, the kindest think I can do for myself is __________.

By utilizing these small practices of self-care and self-compassion every day, you can fill in the blank with numerous self-care rituals, and self-compassion practices! By continually implementing them into your life, you will find you are better able to connect with others, the world around you and most importantly, yourself.

References

Bard, Ellen. (n.d.). 45 Simple Self Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body and Soul [Blog Post]. Retrieved from: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/45-simple-self-care-practices-for-a-healthy-mind-body-and-soul/

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