When you’re being deliberate about your personal growth, it can be both painful and rewarding – and sometimes it’s hard to know whether you’re on the right track. What we do know for sure is that if you’re wanting something in your life to be different, you need to think, feel and behave differently. As Henry Ford once said: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”
Self-care can sound soft – not everyone responds to the term. But here’s the reality: our coaching team works with clients around the world and what we notice is that, regardless of who they are or what they do, the people who are feeling ‘in flow’ with their life and can experience a sense of achievement, all practice self-care. They’re disciplined about it and don’t let their busy lives get in the way.
Self-care means putting yourself first. It means being responsible for your own wellbeing – taking care of your health in all the different ways, whether physically, mentally or emotionally. Though numerous studies have revealed the benefits of self-care, including reduced stress and better quality of life, it’s often the first thing we push aside when life becomes overly busy or stressful. Yet at such times, self-care is more critical than ever.
Here are five self-care strategies we can all think about and implement. These aren’t meditating or taking a bath – they’re about making the changes that will allow you to really explore what being the best version of you really means.
- Be alone when it’s good for you – Don’t distract yourself with noise, people and busyness if you know there’s something you need to think about, feel or reflect on. Being alone sometimes is good for you. Just like our bodies and brains need activity, they also need stillness and quiet. Research shows, for example, that taking a short rest allows our brains to reinforce memories when learning new skills. So, grab those moments of silence whenever you can.
- Make yourself your most important project when the time is right – This is not selfish or indulgent. There are times when you should make yourself your highest priority. Consult experts, make a plan, identify opportunities, set timeframes and make strategic and thoughtful decisions about your goals. Imagine what you could achieve if you put as much time and effort into planning your life as you did one of your projects at work.
- Let go of what no longer serves you – This can be easier said than done, but it’s a coaching activity we often do with clients. Ask yourself: what are the stories, relationships, beliefs, attitudes and habits that are going to prevent you from getting where you want to go?
- Make decisions from a place of purpose, rather than feelings – When you’re heading toward that buttery muffin because you feel tired or bored, go back to your purpose. Does eating the muffin align with your vision of creating a healthier body and mind? Sometimes feelings just come from beliefs that aren’t serving us. Know what you value and what success means to you and focus on that when making your decisions.
- Honour your future self – While working on you in the present, keep your future self in mind. Are they stronger, smarter, healthier, happier, wealthier, more adventurous or resilient? What advice would your future self give you? What can you do today that’s going to get you there?
– The Coach Place Global
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