FALL IN LOVE WITH TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF.
It's widely known that women are more stressed compared to men. Perhaps it has something to do with many women juggling multiple roles; balancing careers with their growing families, business, and obligations. It's easy to get to a point where you feel overwhelmed, overworked and uninspired due to having a busy schedule that seems to get in the way of you taking care of yourself. While we can't eliminate everything that is stressful in our lives, there are things we can do to cut down on the amount of stress we experience.
If you're living with high levels of stress, your well-being is at risk and taking better care of yourself can help you lead a life that is more fulfilling. Here is a list of self-care activities for the stressed woman.
1. IDENTIFY YOUR MAJOR SOURCES OF STRESS
Do you have a million things going on? Are you accepting overwhelming stress as a normal part of your life? Before you attempt to rationalize or make excuses, first accept responsibility for the role you've played in either the creation or maintenance of stress that seems out of your control. Make a list of the regular stress in your life, the way you deal with them and pay attention to any common themes. Remember, you have control over your habits, attitudes and even the excuses you use to keep stress situations around.
Tip: Journal about how stress has been affecting you and list the ways you can do better.
2. MAINTAIN A REGULAR SCHEDULE OF SELF-CARE
Self-Care is not just burning candles and soaking in a hot bath. It's not something you do every once in a while and is not something you do once. Make self-care a part of your daily routine by first understanding that we all have different requirements for self-care. Create a schedule that allows you to have a sense of balance between work, family, social activities and other pursuits including downtime.
Personally, I enjoy the alone time in the morning before my family wakes up. I'm usually up at 4 am so I use this time to drink my tea, eat a light breakfast, exercise and start the most important tasks of the day undisturbed. Why is this important to me? Before I can attempt to meet the demands of my family and business, it's essential that I meet my own needs. Taking the time to ease into my day and accomplish the most important things help me free up the time I need to spend with my children. Overall, my day runs smoother as I'm not feeling as much pressure to check things off my to-do list.
Tip: Look at your schedule and identify the best times to enjoy practice better self-care.
3. PRACTICE POSITIVE THINKING
Learn how to be more optimistic by practicing positive thinking. Negative events that are out of your control are always going to happen. One thing you have complete control over is how you view these situations. Make a conscious effort to try to be positive by using things like positive affirmations to help you develop a more healthy frame of mind. Be especially mindful when you're faced with a challenge to use positive self-talk if you're thinking negatively.
Tip: Make a list of powerful affirmations that help you feel good about yourself, your abilities and the situations you're challenged with.
4. LEARN HOW TO SAY NO
Many people have a hard time saying no. For a variety of reasons, you may feel guilty for saying no. You may fear to lose the respect of others and people may think that you don’t care. You’re the expert in your life. Learn how to say no, know your limits and maintain boundaries in all areas of your life because once you begin taking on too much, soon you will notice how it begins to take a toll on your body. Some people may understand and respect you for saying no while others may take it personally. Whether they like it or not, it’s not your problem.
Don’t confuse this with reciprocation. All relationships involve some sort of give and take but if you’re finding yourself on the end of always giving, it’s time to reevaluate what you say yes to.
Tip: Avoid compromise or meeting someone in the middle if you truly want to say no. Be true to yourself. It’s better to be honest with yourself so that you can welcome experiences that add value to your life.
5. GET BETTER SLEEP
You may have heard or used “team no sleep” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Nighttime should be your opportunity to prepare your body and mind for sleep so that you can be the best version of yourself. The “all hustle, no sleep” mentality is becoming less popular with more people becoming interested in the way they can increase their self-care. Yet I still see people complaining about being tired, bragging about how they haven’t had sleep for several days and letting the world know that they’re working while others are sleeping. Don’t fall into the no sleep trap as studies show that people who are sleep deprived experience more stress and irrational emotional responses such as increased agitation. Get some sleep. Everything will be there tomorrow, unplug and recharge for the next day.
Tip: Get better sleep by creating a nighttime routine that helps you sleep all night. Try to wake up and go to bed the same time every day. Limit naps during the day to no more than 30 minutes.
6. MEAL PLANNING, HEALTHY EATING, and EXERCISE
Because stress is inevitable, so is unhealthy eating as stress hormones push us to grab comfort food that is not always healthy. With women, we’re more likely to turn to food and stress eat which has long-lasting effects on our diet habits, weight management, and ability to handle stress over time. You can help reduce stress with a healthy diet and exercise. Meal planning can help you stay on track especially during hectic days where you may feel the urge to indulge in fast foods.
Tip: Load up on veggies, fruits and other fiber-rich foods that add extra protection against stress. For exercise and meal planning, find something that you enjoy and keep healthy snacks that are easy to take on the go such as dried fruits, nuts, granola bars and protein shakes.
7. IT'S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP
You’ve spent most of your life having this idea that being an independent woman means holding the world on your shoulder. Remember, superwoman is a fictional character. A good way to handle stress is to simply ask for help. Swallow your pride and ditch the desire to handle everything on your own. Start small; If someone asks to help you, allow them to help you. Perhaps there’s no one you personally know that would help you. That doesn’t stop you from hiring help. There are services that will come clean your home, pick up groceries, and the list goes on. With a revolving list of duties, save your sanity and take full advantage of the resources around you.
Tip: Common sources of support are a Spouse, parents, close friends, older children, neighbors, coworkers, business besties, and services in your community. Make a list of things or areas in your life that you could use help with and ask or help in at least one area.
8. DITCH PERFECTIONISM
You may need to adjust your standards if everything must be perfect for you to feel satisfied. Learn to be okay with being good enough. When you demand perfection, you set yourself up for failure and you set unreasonable standards for yourself and others. Perfectionism looks like starting a diet on Monday versus starting a diet at any time or it may sound like “I’ll be happy when…”, it can look like comparing yourself to others or doing things to impress others. Just know that perfectionism kills your progress. These strict guidelines you set up for yourself lead to low self-esteem, poor confidence in your abilities and unnecessary stress which can increase signs of anxiety and depression. We simply cannot be in control of everything all the time and that’s okay since we’re human and not made to be perfect.
Tip: When you notice you're leaning towards perfectionism, gently remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and work towards changing that behavior by simply recognizing that there is no right way to do something. Remind yourself that it matters what you think about your work, not what others think.
9. LESS IS THE NEW MORE
Decluttering is not just for cutting down on possessions; use decluttering as a tool to reduce stress. Think about it; the anxiety surrounding having too many loads of laundry to wash or having so many things that it's hard to think clearly in your home. If we're stressed out with our clutter spaces, maybe it's time to make room for some peace. Some great areas to consider in your removal of clutter in your life are:
- Reducing commitments
- Add structure to your routine
- Unsatisfactory Friendships
- Declutter your work-space
- Purge unused files and programs on your computer
- Unsubscribe to email lists
- Reduce consumption of social media and TV
- Simplify your rooms
- Reduce your clothing
- Clean out drawers
- Re-frame your toxic beliefs
- Decrease your expenses
Give yourself time to identify things that are no longer serving you. Also, keep in mind that you don't have to spend hours a day sorting through your clutter. Set aside 20-45 minutes a day to focus on one area. What old possessions, habits, beliefs or even people are you keeping around that are holding you back? If you were moving to another country tomorrow, what would you take with you?
Tip: Start with the easy stuff first. Stop the flow of bringing new things into your space until you sort out what’s already there. Get rid of multiples. Do you really need 20 pairs of jeans?
10. LOVE AND ACCEPT YOURSELF
Loving ourselves is an endless effort so train your mind to love and accept yourself right where you are at this very moment. Be patient, understanding and trust yourself. Appreciate your unique beauty, talents and abilities. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and be willing to grow and overcome fear or uncertainty.
Tip: Simply dedicate your life to loving yourself more because when you love yourself more, you love others better.
11. BE YOURSELF
Social media has played a major role in how people misrepresent themselves and I've personally become exhausted with it. Have guts to be yourself and you'll be fine because if you haven't already, you'll find your tribe who loves you just the way you are. We have one life and there's no sense in being something other than yourself.
Obviously, this list of self-care tips can keep going but this should be enough to get you thinking about your own self-care routine and what areas you can work on. You'll be surprised how less stressed you will begin to feel as you begin to incorporate several self-care activities into your life.
Did you enjoy this list and tips? Feel free to add to this list by commenting below and share with your friends.