You’ve likely heard the expression “You must love yourself before you can love anyone else.” This is both widely-stated and completely inaccurate on the face of it. It’s all too easy to love someone when you don’t love yourself. But that doesn’t mean that the expression is completely bereft of value. It just needs a different interpretation of “love.”
Rather than thinking about love just as a feeling, substitute a meaning of love that concentrates on action. If you love someone, that should come across in how you treat them. Better still, tweak the expression. See how this lands: “You must care for yourself before you can care for someone else.” Doesn’t that have more truth to it?
You can treat others better than you treat yourself, but it’ll ultimately hamper your efforts to care for others if you don’t look after yourself. How can you cheer someone up when you’re clearly miserable? So even if you’re the sort of person who prefers to think about how they can help others, it’s imperative that you focus on self-care as a core concern.
Self-care is particularly important in these turbulent times. To stay strong in a world gone mad, and find joy in your daily life, you need to take better care of yourself. Here are five self care ideas.
You may also be interested in:
- Self Care Isn’t Selfish. Here’s How You Can Embrace It
- The New Self Care: Mindfulness and Meditation
- Why Am I So Irritable Lately?
Cut Yourself Some Slack
It’s so human to forgive your friends for anything, but think less of yourself for every mistake you’ve ever made. But you need to fight against that impulse. You’re not inherently stronger or weaker than anyone else. Throughout your life, you’ll slip up, say things you regret, and act in all manner of self-destructive ways. But if you come to hate yourself for that, things will get worse. The best thing you can do is give yourself leeway to fail.
And when you fail, instead of thinking less of yourself, concentrate on how you can do better next time. How can you get better? How can you be better? Agonizing over your flaws will block your mind and prevent you from improving. So if things have gone wrong, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, cut yourself some slack, and move on to bigger and better things. This is essential for all the other self-care ideas.
Focus On Getting Better Sleep
How well you sleep affects everything in your life: how you feel, how you work, how you interact with everyone from friends and family members to colleagues. And the good news is that it generally isn’t that hard to get better sleep. Slow down towards the end of the day, lower the light level in your place, steer clear of electronic devices, and give yourself plenty of time to fall asleep (ideally an hour or so to relax before you want to be asleep). Do that for a few nights and you’ll find that you feel significantly fresher.
Find Time to Relax and Have Fun
Not wanting to be self-indulgent can rob you of great opportunities to give yourself some VIP treatment — and one fantastic pampering session can improve your mood for days. How you should get pampered depends on your personal preferences. Would you like to get a message? Have your hair done? Stay at a hotel? You could tie a range of options into a staycation. Or maybe you’d prefer something taxing but rewarding, like going rock-climbing or even just spending time in a sauna. Whatever you do, focus on enjoying it as much as you can.
Make Walking Part of Your Daily Routine
When it comes to low-impact exercise, walking is the best thing going. It has so many benefits. It’s good for your heart, relaxes your mind, lets you proceed at your own pace, and happens to be completely free. You also don’t need to walk for hours every day. If you can find thirty minutes each day for some vigorous walking, you’ll soon notice a difference in your mindset (and if you don’t like the quiet, listen to music or podcasts as you walk).
Lean On Your Friends
Self-care isn’t the same thing as self-reliance. Quite the contrary, in fact: a key element of looking after yourself is knowing when solitude isn’t what you need. A mistake we all make sometimes is keeping our problems to ourselves. Maybe we worry about burdening our friends, or maybe we just feel so awkward about what’s bothering us that we want to keep quiet — but the longer you bottle something up, the worse it will get, until you have to express it somehow. So when you’re running something through your head over and over again, don’t just let that cycle repeat in perpetuity. Talk to someone about it. Find someone you trust and care about, and tell them how you’re feeling.
Kim is the owner and publisher of Sass Magazine, as well as the owner of Sass Studios, a boutique graphic design studio in Frederick, MD. When not in the office, Kim can be found doing some of her favorite hobbies—reading a book, dancing, traveling, or playing with her rescued pitbull.