Being someone who has suffered from extreme major depressive disorder for over a decade and one thing that is close to my heart is living a life based on prioritizing my wellbeing. I am always open to exploring new avenues that may improve my wellbeing and the wellbeing of others around me. I thought I would share a few of my tips so that you can implement some self-love and care into your daily routine.
Put Yourself First
I know this sounds passe, although if you are not in a good mindset you are not able to help others. Your wellbeing is your foremost important asset. Just think of when your on an airplane and the hostess tells you to put your life mask on before helping others. It’s the same thing here.
For women, we struggle to put ourselves first. We are giving and nurturing in nature. Women are genetically made up to put their infants first so it’s a no wonder we also mimick this behavior in so many other areas of our lives. Its simply in our DNA, and hey it’s not a bad thing at all!
Putting yourself first does not mean that your self centered or lack compassion for others. Putting yourself first is actually loving and protecting the most important person you.
I am going to break down a few ways that you can put yourself first.
Set Healthy Boundaries
What are boundaries? Boundaries are something that you define you will and will not do and what is ok and not ok with you. They are your boundaries you get to determine them.
Take a Boundary Assesment
Let’s take an inventory of the different areas of your life. You have your social needs, family needs, work needs, emotional needs, physical needs, and personal needs. We can even break them down into micro-segments for instance:
- Your Parents
- Your Children
- Your Partner
- Your Extended Familly etc.
Take a look into each of these relationships. Are you overextending yourself in any of these areas? Are there any behaviors you wish could change? It could be as simple as a sister who always cancels lunch dates at the last minute and does not respect your time. Go through each facet and decide what is ok and what is not ok with you.
Maintain and Enforce Boundaries
This can be sometimes a little harder for women. Forcing boundaries means that you need to become assertive with your behavior. If we use the example above you could say. Sally I would love to go to lunch with you on Tuesday but if you cancel again can you please give me more notice. I have plenty of things I need to get done and when you cancel the last minute I feel like you don’t value my time.
Start an Exercise Routine
Now I know to some this sentence can make you cringe. In fact, it makes me cringe! I hate exercise yet I love to dance and perform.
Find an Active Activity You Love
Remember the days where you were young and you would play on the flying fox with the wind in your hair? Or perhaps you were always at the local beach with your little bodyboard playing in the fresh seafoam. The point here is to find something that you love! I was never a gym girl I wasn’t motivated to go. Then I found yoga and aerial arts. Yoga became a part of my everyday life and aerial arts was my passion. Being upsidedown with adrenaline plus the instant gratification of learning something new always has me coming back. For me, it was a natural progression as I was a dancer when I was younger. Think about what you liked when you were young? Perhaps you can give it a try!
Improve Your Flexibility
In order to have a healthy body a good range of motion it a must. If your muscles and joints are tight you will create pain and dysfunction in the body that will begin to impact other areas around the source.
I like to stretch at least three times a week. This is especially important for cross-fitters. A friend of mine stop stretching and tore her hamstring. If you don’t make time to stretch then your body will eventually slow you down to a point of injury or painful dysfunction. At the end of the day who wants to feel tight and constricted in their body? Not me!
Create New Healthy Habits
We all remember Pavlov and his dog that would salivate every time he rang the bell. We can condition our bodies to want to do things through triggers. For instance, I light candles and turn the lights off at night to do my stretching routines. This shift in the atmosphere gets me in the right mindset every time.
Think of a healthy habit you would like to incorporate into your life. It could be 30 minutes of study towards a course you want to do or something as simple as 30 minutes of me-time. (Not so simple when children are involved).
Plan accordingly to incorporate this habit into your daily schedule. Team it with a sound (music), smell (essential oils), sight (dim lights) or sound (quiet vs loud). The combination is up to you and what you would like to achieve.
Eat Nutritiously Dense Meals
Think of food as fuel and not as a treat. A healthy body needs healthy fuel. I like to question myself this each time I eat: “Is this meal nutritionally dense or not?.”
That will generally give you the answer as to whether you can eat it or not. For instance spaghetti, I would skip because it is empty carbs. I would rather eat sweet potato as that has nutrients. One of my favorite family meals is Greek yogurt with berries and almonds.
Deal With Your Emotions
Ok, so this one is a little easier said than done. Of course, we don’t want to feel, sad, mad or sorrow. Emotions are a part of life and very amongst life circumstances. There are many ways that we can process our emotions in a healthy way.
Be The Judge and Jury Of Your Thoughts
- Write down your thought that you want to work on. Example: Jeff: “I can’t do anything right”
- What evidence do you have to prove this theory? Example continued “Well, my wife always yells at me and no matter what I do it’s never right.”
- What evidence do you have to disprove this theory? Example continued: “Well in my job as an electrition I have to work out the problem and then execute a solution. So I guess I do get things right at work.”
- Time for the verdict! With all the evidence can you say that the statement (insert your statement from step 1) is 100% correct? In this instance, the answer is no. We can see that there is competence in the area of work. I bet if you looked into other areas of Jeffs’s life he would find further competencies too. He runs and plays basketball there for rendering him competent in his sports.
You can read more on how to improve your self-esteem in this article here.
Practice Self Esteem Boosters
One of the self-esteem boosters I like to do is to write down one thing you did that made a difference today. To be honest I usually find this pretty hard but when I chat with my husband he always can think of something I did that day to make a difference.
List your strengths and give examples. This may be pretty hard for some so I thought I would put a list of strengths below. Try and give an example of when you have exhibited this trait.
Learn Something New
Love embroidery or dying to take that daring pole class? Take the time to learn a new skill. It will boost your self-confidence which will boost your wellbeing.
Faith is everything if we lose all faith we loose hope! It does not have to necessarily be faith in religion but learn to cultivate faith in yourself, humanity and other things around you.
If you do have a religious faith make sure that you are implementing the day to day activities of prayer, scriptures and connecting with God.
We all know it! I don’t even need to say it! Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Be Relationship Focused
Relationships are important for our emotional and social needs. Drop the social media messages and get together with your friends and family to create memories.
Frugal living is good, we all need to have a nest egg and have money to fall back on. It is important to plan in your budget funds for treating yourself. This is especially important if you are rewarding yourself for creating new habits. Make sure you dangle that little treat on the end of that carrot stick.
What practices do you have to improve your wellbeing?
Share them in the comments below.
In Happiness and Health,