In your to-do list you probably need to cross off items such as “getting into a great relationship,” “landing my dream job,” “earning a six-figure salary,” or whatever in that direction of achievement and accomplishment. That’s great, but… The problem is that when you start investing in the big dreams and forget to take good care of yourself, you make it a lot harder to achieve them. The reason is because you are so focused on the dream, that you don’t listen to yourself, you don’t cover these basic needs that, when fulfilled, will pave the way to the bigger dream.
Self-care is especially important after a break-up, after being turned down from your dream job, when you feel anxious, upset, sad, or mad. Taking care of yourself will stabilize the intense emotions you have after having been through a challenging situation and will show you the way. Here’s a cheat sheet with the twelve most important steps for self-care.
1. Learn to say exactly what you mean. Remember you need to remain always polite and civilized, but nonetheless, speak the truth.
2. Learn to listen. Most people stay silent when the other person talks, preparing their answer. Try to really focus on what the other person says, observe their body language and their emotional tone and you will find that you learn a lot more than meets the eye.
3. Learn to say “no.” Creating healthy boundaries will help you clarify your needs and wishes without overburdening yourself. It may be a bit difficult in the beginning but looking the other person in the eye and saying, “as much as I would love to, the timing is not right, and I won’t be able to help,” will get you a long way.
4. Learn to say “yes” when you mean it. That’s often overlooked, as many people out of an outdated sense of politeness or low self-esteem decline a generous offer, hoping the other person will insist.
5. Think positively. Making scenarios in your head and expecting the worst possible outcome is not going to help you in any way. On the contrary, focusing on the positive can help you see and seize opportunities.
6. Think solutions, not problems. Most people tend to over-focus on their problems, over-analyzing, asking “why?” which then becomes a vicious circle of feeling “this is so unfair,” or “I will never be able to get out of it.” That’s the best way to get stuck in a bad situation, never moving to find and implement solutions.
7. Stay away from drama. Give yourself a chance to keep a distance from too much drama, too much negativity, too much “he said, she said.” Offer advice if asked to, but don’t let it suck you into it.
8. Be kind. Make kindness a habit. Be kind to yourself and choose wisely promoting your wellness rather than self-punishing.
9. Recognize what you can’t control and let go of it.
10. Adopt a positive inner dialogue. Speak kindly to yourself, using positive, warm words that you would use when talking to a loved one. Encourage yourself instead of scolding, blaming, or taking a guilt-trip.
11. Use a daily positive affirmation. Every morning before getting up, before doing what’s your routine (i.e., checking mail, getting a cup of coffee, etc.) say your positive affirmation and set an intention for the mood of the day. For example, “Today I choose to feel strong. Today I choose to have happy feelings.”
12. Identify two signature strengths of yours. Ask two good friends to tell you two of your top qualities or identify them yourself. Then set to practice them daily.