Have you ever wondered "how can I really help others?" or "what more can I do to help others?" This is especially true now, with all of the recent hurricanes and earthquakes. Pictures flood social media of volunteers helping others who've been devastated by these natural disasters as well as those who have been serving others for so many consecutive hours, they are completely exhausted and their bodies are giving out. This doesn't only happen in times of extreme circumstances, it can happen to any of us during our normal lives. We often are so busy taking care of everyone else, we put ourselves on the back burner and never get around to taking care of ourself. But, if you really, truly want to effectively help others, you have to take care of yourself! If you neglect yourself, you may experience feelings of exhaustion, resentment, guilt, burnout, and even hopelessness. Incorporating self-care practices can restore your energy and give you a renewed passion for the important work you do, whether you are a caregiver, volunteer, or professional helper!
Here are some self care ideas:
Be Still: I wanted to start with this idea because I believe we are in such a hurry all the time that many of us are never still! This can be time to sit quietly, pray, or a little of both.
Exercise: I know it is difficult to find time to exercise but if you do make time for taking care of yourself in this way, you won't regret it! I especially love yoga. Yoga not only falls under the exercise category, but also has added benefits of stress reduction and muscle tension release.
Meditation: I know many people are a little skeptical when they hear the word meditation and Eastern religions may come to mind. Meditation does not have to be that way! I recently was told about an app called Headspace. I have been using it for several months now and love it. This app is a guided meditation and starts with just 10 minutes a day. Utilizing meditation as part of your bedtime routine can help prepare you for a restful nights sleep.
Diet: Making healthy food choices can really impact your mood and energy level. I've heard of many people who forget to eat because they are so busy, and then wonder why they have no energy or respond impatiently with their children.
Friends: We were created for relationships! Not only with God, but also with others. Making time to build relationships with likeminded people is vital to our wellbeing.
Hobbies: Figure out something you enjoy doing and set aside some time to do it. Life is so much more enjoyable when you are not only doing all the things you have to do but the things you want to do too!
If you are interested in learning more about self-care practices or if even the thought of doing something to take care of yourself results in feelings of guilt, I'd love to talk with you. Call me for your free 15-minute phone consultation or to discuss counseling at 210-789-9166 or email me here.