I was a walking time bomb.
Overworked and worn out from juggling three jobs, I knew that I was this close to having a meltdown, but chose to ignore the exhaustion that was making me feel like a living, breathing zombie.
Until the call came. I knew it was more work, but instead of answering as I always did, I stared at my cell phone, sat on the ground and started crying.
I needed a break from my crazy work schedule, but I also knew that just going on a holiday wasn’t going to cut it. I needed much more than a temporary change of scenery. What I needed was to take better care of myself.
So I started to change how I worked, and in the process, created what I now call my Daily Self-Care Ritual — a set of 5 rules that I turn to daily, to make sure I don’t end up on that floor again.
Here’s what they are:
#1: GIVE YOUR BODY WHAT IT NEEDS
Self care that works starts with this first rule, because without a body that's willing and able, everything else falls apart.
It doesn't mean that you need to have the perfect body or become the word’s fittest (although if that’s what drives you, all the better) — it just means that you’ve got to give your body what it needs so that you can live the life that you want.
Groom yourself so you feel good about how you look. Eat mostly foods that come out of the earth, not out of a box, so your body has all the elements it needs to work the way it should and stay resilient. Strengthen your heart, muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones so they can withstand the wear and tear of living. Let your body rest and rejuvenate when it's tired.
Make this happen regularly by keeping things simple.
#2: BUILD A FLEXIBLE, COMPASSIONATE MIND
We practice physical hygiene to get a beautiful, healthy and flexible body. But our mental hygiene rarely gets just as much attention. The result can often be a mind that's neglected, rigid and critical, which in turn, creates a life that's tortured, difficult and painful.
Ease the pain by opening your mind up to new ideas and ways of thinking. Stop allowing your thoughts to consume you. Do this by questioning them and developing compassion for yourself, because guess what? You’re human — a human who's prone to fuck ups, big and small.
But because you choose to be flexible and kind in how you see yourself, you learn from your mistakes so they don't happen again, and you do this without making excuses. You know that who you were was yesterday doesn't have to be who you will become tomorrow.
#3: LET GO OF WHAT YOU CAN'T CONTROL
This crucial rule allows you to see that while there are plenty of things that you want to make go your way, you can't.
You'll realise that although you may feel that there are lots of things you're responsible for, the truth is...you're not. Like the things others choose to do and whether or not they like you. And the (sometimes) hurtful truth is, the answer isn't always going to be what you want to hear.
Accepting that you have a circle of control and that not everything can fit into it, then living accordingly isn't just healthy — it's fucking liberating.
#4: PROTECT YOUR ENERGY
Being around the wrong people can suck your precious, finite energy.
And if you were wondering, here's my definition of 'wrong': Emotional vampires who hang around you for their own selfish purposes, eating up your energy without ever offering anything meaningful in return.
Right now, you probably already have a good idea of who these people are in your life are, but you've also probably been avoiding doing something about it.
Here’s what you can do: Quietly keep a healthy distance from them. No unpleasant or heated exchange of words required. The smart ones will get the hint. The ones who don't are either too narcissistic or weren't paying enough attention to you in the first place — both signs that you need to keep walking in the opposite direction.
Preserve your energy for the ones whom you matter to, and who really matter to you. Give them your all.
#5: LEARN HOW TO BECOME A BETTER HUMAN BEING
Filling your cup is essential for your well-being. You DO need to put your own oxygen mask first before assisting others.
But once you do, that's where the 'others' come in, specifically, making sure that you're constantly building your awareness of how you’re living your life, considering how it’s affecting the people around you, and then taking responsibility for it.
Have a tendency to speak before you have a chance to think and usually end up hurting people because of it? You might want to spend some time learning how to take a deep breath (or ten) so you don't say something that you can't take back and will likely make you look like a jerk.
Find yourself indulging in a bad habit that gives you temporary relief from pain and discomfort, like compulsive shopping or eating? This isn't good news for your finances, health or relationships.
Everything you do and every decision that you make has an impact on who you become as a person, and ultimately, your happiness as well that of the people around you, which makes taking responsibility for who you are your ultimate act of self care.
If you’re too busy surviving, chances are, you’re not thriving. You’re feeling tired, unhealthy, unmotivated and just plain worn-out from life. I created my FREE Daily Self-Care Ritual Workbook for busy folks like you who want to take back their health, peace of mind and happiness. Get your very own copy of the workbook HERE.
This article originally appeared on michelelian.com