How to show yourself some love. By Patri Hernandez
Radical self-care is a beautiful thing.
It’s not about being selfish, it’s about understanding that when we are at our best, we can do so much more for the world around us.
When our minds and bodies are healthy, we are better able to think more clearly, make better decisions and be happier and when our emotions are in balance, we’re able to work on difficult problems more effectively and also have more patience with others.
This article will give you a variety of tools for radical self-care, from a description of why we need it, to ways to implement it in your life.
Before we delve into the world of radical self-care, let’s talk about one big misconception: taking time for yourself is selfish. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Taking time for yourself is not selfish
Taking time for yourself is not actually selfish.
What is selfish is putting your health (mental and physical) on the back burner. When we focus on everyone else rather than ourselves, we as individuals become exhausted.
I have met people who are amazingly wonderful and caring, who give their all to those around them but are not taking care of themselves properly. Taking care of other people doesn’t mean we need to neglect ourselves. This is incredibly important when it comes to being happy.
What exactly does radical self-care mean?
Radical self-care is simple. It is about taking those extra steps to make sure that your mind and body are in good spiritual condition so that you can provide the best possible care for yourself (and, in turn, those around you).
It’s about taking that 5-minute break every hour for inner reflection or going out alone for coffee instead of meeting friends. Have you done that yet? There are many wonderful ways to take care of yourself, and determining priorities is just one way of getting started.
Radical self-care, in fact, shows you are not a victim. It means you are in control of your life and are capable of doing something about those things that don't serve you or are harming you.
It is about keeping yourself in check so that you can do the things you love, be present for your family and friends and help others when possible without getting ill or feeling burned out.
5 simple ways to practice radical self-care
1 Do a daily check-in
Checking in with yourself is incredibly important. This is because, many times, we are not really present and can be dwelling on past experiences which have left us feeling sad, angry, fearful or full of resentment.
You only have control over the present moment, so it is essential to check in with yourself to make sure that you are okay and that you have taken care of yourself properly.
This gives you a sense of relief in knowing that you have been able to take time out for yourself, that you have thought about what is going on in your life and can now do something about it.
We might read this again and again, but it cannot be stressed enough how mindful breathing helps us relax instantly. It brings us back to the here and now in no time.
So, by taking time to breathe deeply, we are taking a step towards physical and mental health.
This can be difficult when you’re caught up in everyday life, so very often, throughout the day, try to focus on taking the time you need to breathe consciously, particularly whenever the thoughts that drive you into negative patterns of thinking come up.
3 Emotional Management
Not everyone has access to professional help, and sometimes emotions like sadness, anger, or fear can build up until we feel completely overwhelmed. Self-awareness can help us manage our emotional health when we need it most.
First, pay attention to how you feel. Are you anxious, sad, confused, or upset? Next, ask yourself if these feelings are serving you. If not, it is most definitely time for a break. Walking when feeling overwhelmed can help dissipate some of the triggering emotions.
If you are not used to walking or find it difficult to do it on your own, joining walking groups might help if you need to get motivated. Studies have linked walking to various health benefits including depression and cardiovascular disease.
4 Distract yourself from negative thinking
When we are feeling stressed our thoughts can turn into negative bullets, which could lead to a depressed state.
Instead of allowing these negative thoughts to have the upper hand, we can use some of our time to distract ourselves. Meditating for a few minutes every day, reading a book or watching calming videos can help. It is important to make sure that you aren’t letting your mind get sidetracked by thoughts of the past or concerns about the future.
5 Don't wait until pain hits
It is good to take time for yourself in general, especially when you are not feeling well. This can give you the chance to reflect on what is going on and help you find solutions to any problems you might be experiencing.
It is always better to take preventative measures rather than wait until you are in pain to try and find a solution.
Things like rest, relaxation techniques, a good night's sleep and meditation are all great ways to start this process of self-care off.
Tips to start taking time for yourself
Perhaps you need to give yourself time to adjust. Not everyone can take one day off every week or go on a yoga retreat in the mountains. That’s OK! The key is to start somewhere, even if it’s just taking a short walk once a week.
Use your intuition to determine how much time you should take, and how often. Try to avoid situations that might make it difficult for you. Keep things simple and use what works for you.
Start with the small steps that make a big difference. For example, start by telling yourself "I love myself" when you get up in the morning. Try doing a quick sequence of self-care actions in the morning and evening every day, such as meditation, deep breathing, and doing yoga.
Invest in the time you need to take care of yourself. It should be about being intentional about getting healthier, not about stepping out of the way of life’s obligations.
Make it fun! Get creative and experiment with different self-care techniques until you find something that really works for you.
Remember, radical self-care is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves. It is time that we stop neglecting our needs, and start being mindful of the things that matter.