If you don’t take care of yourself, you will get sick. Yet, how often do you feel guilty for taking care of yourself? It’s time to learn how to practice guilt-free self-care!
A friend recently told me that he was exhausted, but when he tried to rest, he felt anxious and guilty over not doing anything. When he got up, he still didn’t do anything because he was too tired.
This scenario is all too familiar. We push ourselves to the brink because there is so much to do. We work in this exhausted state and make mistakes. Matthew Walker, neuroscientist and author of Why We Sleep, warns against this kind of behavior. He says that our sleep deprivation is making us sick, dumber, prone to mistakes, and decreases our mental health. Exhaustion can lead to sleep deprivation because we can’t get the quality rest we need. The only way to nip exhaustion in the bud is to take care of ourselves.
We know we need to take care of ourselves and we have resources. The key is to take care of yourself without guilt. Here are five tips for cultivating guilt-free self-care.
Fill Your Cup
“You cannot fill from an empty cup.”
This seems so logical. Have you ever tried to fill up someone else’s cup of water from your empty cup? No! You wouldn’t even think of it. Your cup is empty, so you go fill it and you probably take their cup with you. Why then, do we try to do things for others when we can barely do things for ourselves?
When your cup is full, you are energized and present. You want to serve and help others. When you have taken care of yourself, you can’t help but support others. As we say in the LifeForce Yoga Training, when your cup overflows you won’t be able to stop yourself from serving with an open heart.
Make Time for You-Time
You need to be the priority. The only way you can be at your best is when you take care of yourself. Right now, look at your schedule. Where can you put 20 – 30 minutes of self-care? It might mean that you get up a little earlier in the morning. This may seem counter-intuitive. If I am so tired, why should I get up earlier instead of getting the sleep I need?
Fair enough. Self-care is restorative in nature. It is said that 20 minutes of yoga nidra is equivalent to almost two hours of sleep, in its restoration properties. Why would you not want to add that into your day? Try adding a yoga nidra practice into the middle of your day, or when you get home. When you finish, you will have more clarity and energy, which means you will be clearer at work.
Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier, hit the snooze button, and practice Stair Step Breath to Energize in your bed. If you fall asleep, the alarm will wake you up again.
Ground Yourself, Earthling
Come back to Earth dear one! Our bodies are of this planet and draw energy from this planet. Many of us are completely separated from the Earth itself. When was the last time you stood on the ground – in grass, dirt, or buried your toes in the sand? 10 minutes of Earthing nourishes and restores the system, it is electric nutrition. Earthing works best when you stand on the ground outside. You can also get Earthing blankets, mattress pads, pads, etc., that bring the electric nutrition of the Earth into your home.
Let it Go
We must let go of the guilt and understand that we deserve self-care. Take a deep breath, remember tip number one, and let the guilt go. YOU.DESERVE.IT.
Say Yes to Saying No
Some of us are really good at saying yes to everything, even when the personal cost is too much. Let’s take that ability and start saying yes to saying no. When you are too tired, or you have a lot scheduled, start saying no. Ginny Beal says to me, “we are allowed to say no without giving a reason.” If you lose friends when you say no, you might ask yourself if they were your friends in the first place.
When we make self-care a priority, we set an example for those around us. We show and teach our children and friends what it means to be healthy.