All of us can benefit from increased self prioritization; even small additions can have a significant impact. In this article, I outline tips to improve self-care.
1. Develop realistic expectations of yourself and others and communicate them openly; remember that expectations may shift over time, depending on the circumstances of each individual.
2. Learn when to say "no" with less guilt.
3. Manage your guilt or inner critic by developing a kinder and more forgiving internal monologue.
4. Give yourself a pass; we are all human after all.
5. Know your boundaries well so that you can choose when to assert yourself and when to be flexible.
6. Before agreeing to do a favor, pause, and then take time to decide what is right for you.
7. Make sure to use some of your down-time doing exactly what you want to do (especially while on vacation).
8. Understand and communicate your needs directly.
9. Take time everyday to engage in an act of self-care; just fifteen minutes of reading, breathing, stretching or walking can make a difference.
10. If you are feeling depleted, it may be time to take a break and investigate all facets of your situation.
11. Try to let go of resentments. This is an ultimate act of self-care, as it has the potential for tremendous improvements in overall physical and mental well-being.
12. Routinely engage in self-care practices that work for you, keep them in your repertoire, and, at the same time, remember to try something new.
13. Prioritize and nourish yourself. Your stability enables better performance in all areas of your life.
14. Become a role-model for self-care, so that those around you can learn to be kinder to themselves too.
Dr. Ariela Bellin is a Licensed Psychologist in Brooklyn, New York.