So many women are so used to taking care of others and putting everyone else first. The result? They neglect themselves. Are you one of those women? Don’t get too down on yourself if you are. Our culture encourages women to be selfless, always putting others’ needs ahead of our own. Women feel like putting themselves first is “selfish” as though there’s something terribly wrong with taking good care of ourselves. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it’s a well-known fact that when you’re caring for someone else and don’t properly take care of yourself, it can lead to burnout. So how can you take care of yourself emotionally?
Make Yourself a Priority
It’s critical for your emotional and your physical health to make yourself a priority. When you don’t know how to take care of yourself emotionally, you risk getting sick. Burnout is a genuine health crisis and can cause a range of other consequences too. Burnout can lead to depression and chronic fatigue. So, how can you give yourself the kind of nurturing you need for a holiday treat? Follow the steps below and make yourself a top priority this holiday season.
- Know that you deserve it.
Guilt can be such a wasted emotion. You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Rather than feeling guilty for taking some time off or saying “no” to someone’s request that feels hard to meet, tell yourself it’s OK to have a day off.
Do you struggle with saying, “no?” If you don’t believe you deserve a little relaxation or pampering, start to explore why you think you don’t. Ask yourself if you’re harder on yourself than you would if you were talking to a friend or family member. If your best friend came to you looking exhausted, and expressing that she needs to take time off but feels guilty for doing so, what would you tell her? Chances are, you’d encourage her to take care of herself. So, do the same for you.
- Know that relaxation reduces stress levels.
Stress is a silent killer. When we’re stressed, it’s hard to enjoy life. Stress makes it harder to sleep and handle even minor inconveniences. While experiencing stress in this life is unavoidable, there are many things you can do to soften its blows. One of those things is making it a priority to relax once in a while.
Surveys conducted on nurses with stressful caregiving jobs found that relaxation dramatically reduced their stress levels. When you think you always have to be “on,” and don’t have the chance to relax, you’ll just feel even more stressed. Depression, mood swings, trouble sleeping, and negativity can take hold. Making relaxation a priority is an easy way to combat the consequences of stress.
- Consider all the possibilities.
Ask yourself what you could give yourself: What do I want that I can give to myself? Even if you want something that’s out of your reach, can you give yourself something that would give you close to the same feeling?
For example, let’s say you’d love a spa day – maybe a massage, a facial, and a manicure. But if you can’t afford an expensive spa treatment, perhaps a bubble bath will do.
If you want a vacation to Hawaii, can you give yourself a day at the beach or in the sun? Or maybe you can enjoy something even simpler. What about taking a few moments from your busy day to look out the window and enjoy nature? Go for a walk. Head down to the local grocer and buy yourself a bouquet of your favorite flowers, and a sweet treat just for you. These are all simple, easy, and inexpensive things you can do to make yourself a priority.
- Make a date with yourself.
You’re always making time for others. Why not yourself? Schedule some time just for you. Whether it’s to go out and do something you love or just to spend some time reading that book you’ve got your eye on and relaxing, take the time to devote to your well being. Protect this time you scheduled the way you would if you had a meeting scheduled at work. Don’t give it up. It’s good for you, and you’re important, too.
- Reconnect with someone meaningful to you.
Holiday times can be busy and stressful. Sometimes we don’t feel we have time for anything else. But it can also be a good time for you to think of someone you miss. Even if you can’t connect with them right now, you can let them know that you’re thinking of them and want to get together in the new year. Send them a card or a message on social media. Nurturing healthy relationships is one of the things that makes life enjoyable.
Can you think of a lovely holiday gift to give yourself? Please share your thoughts and ideas for how you can best take care of yourself this holiday season in the comments.