I just love the concept of New Year's resolutions, because they give me that feeling of a fresh start. But the biggest mistake I see from people is that they make HUGE resolutions with a high rate of failure. Think about it, how successful have you been in the past with this?
All parents, whether it be moms or dads, really lack self-care. Our attention is mostly consumed by our children, leaving us frequently feeling burned out. Why not promise to care for YOU for a change???
Recently, I attended a conference on the topic of self-care. Self-care is an incredibly important part of being a mental health professional, so regular training on the topic is a must. While at this training, we all shared what we believed to be good self-care. I think the most valuable lesson I absorbed from this training was the following:
Self-care does not need to be some sweeping gesture of grand self-love. The best acts of self-care are the little moments of grace that you offer yourself through actions and your internal dialogue.
Most people conceptualize self-care as a 90-minute massage or a trip to the Caribbean. These are incredibly nice, but expensive and short lived. If you do manage that big cruise, once it's over, you're right back where you started.
True self-care are those little acts of self-love that you give yourself every day. It's the extra 10-minutes of sleep in the morning, or getting up 15-minutes early so you can enjoy your cup of coffee while it's still hot in a quiet house. Perhaps it's cutting yourself a little slack when you forgot something at home, or taking an extra day off of work to enjoy some peace and quiet while the kids go to school.
These small acts of regular self-love contribute to an overall greater sense of happiness and satisfaction in your daily life, reduce stress, and increase resiliency and self-esteem!
There are 2 Forms of Self-Care
I will challenge us all to re-envision self-care by breaking it down into 2 categories:
1. Gestures of Self-Love
2. Words of Self-Love
We’ve already broken-down gestures of Self-Love, but to reiterate, it’s those small gestures you allow yourself that brings you calm, such as going for a walk or journaling after a tough day. They can also be big gestures, such as going on a trip or paying for premium services such as a spa day.
Words of Self-Love are that internal dialogue that you are having with yourself throughout the day. It’s the compliments you give yourself for something well done, the mental pep talk you tell yourself as you get dressed in the morning, or the kind words of understanding and forgiveness you whisper to yourself when you make a mistake. Positive affirmations are a great example of Words of Self-Love.
By re-envisioning self-care in this way, we are better able to conceptualize how we can incorporate it affordably and realistically into our busy lives. The key to great self-care is folding regular acts of self-love into your daily life, whether through gestures or positive words. The more you do this, the more it becomes a habit, and the easier it will be. The easier it becomes, the more frequently you will do it, creating a habitual circle that works in your favor and improves your self-esteem, mental health, and overall well-being.
Good self-care needs to become a habit in your life, especially if you are working to replace something you currently do, such as negative self-talk (i.e. “Why am I so stupid!”). I encourage you to take my self-care challenge.
Act of Self-Love Challenge
For the next 30 days, I’m going to invite you to the Act of Self-Love Challenge. Here’s how it works:
Partner up with someone you know that will help keep you honest. Research shows that when you are trying to make changes in your life, having a partner significantly increases your rate of success. So, share this post with a friend and challenge them to do this with you! (#SelfLoveChallenge)
Choose to replace a bad habit with an act of self-love. If you can’t think of a habit you want to replace, simply choose to incorporate an act of self-love into your daily life. I have several examples you can download here. Write down your plan and keep it some place where you will see it frequently.
Mark a calendar with your start date and count out 30 days to know when the challenge is over. Plan to check in with your partner at least once a week (daily is best). At the end of the first 2 weeks, review with your partner how it’s been going and where you are struggling. See if you need to adjust you plan to improve your follow-through.
At the end of your 30 days, evaluate how you did. How do you feel? Do you see a difference in your mood, overall self-esteem, or stress levels?
Repeat the challenge as often as you need it.
It’s simple, right? But it’s powerful. Why not resolve to loving yourself just a little more each and every day this year? It’s amazing to think that such a simple concept can have such a huge impact in your life. I hope you accept my challenge and really take a leap! If you are looking for extra motivation or other ideas for great self-care, follow my Tips for Self-Care board on Pinterest or subscribe to my newsletter for fresh tips, tricks, and ideas to care for yourself. You can also pick up my book, Trials of the Working Parent, for more help on organizing your life and finding balance between your work and your family.