Positive Self-Care: 5 Tips for Basic Maintenance of the Soul

Positive Self-Care: 5 Tips for Basic Maintenance of the Soul
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With today's lifestyle, a whirlwind of demands and last-minute responsibilities, it's no wonder we rarely make time for ourselves. Whether we're meeting deadlines, focusing on relationships or playing the parental chauffeur, the tasks keep adding up and our needs go unmet. Our mental clarity becomes overrun with negativity and our soul feels the effects. We've all been there -- stuck in the muck of pessimism. Here are a few tips to get you back on track in a positive mindset to help you reach new, enlightened potential.

1. Make peace with your mind and body.
Self-Care starts with Self-Compassion. We've heard it before: "You're your own worst enemy." Silence the destructive voices in your head bringing you down. In order to move forward, we all have to believe we are doing the very best we can in the present moment, both physically and mentally. A little personal competition -- an internal drive for improvement -- doesn't hurt, but too many negative voices can be detrimental to our self-esteem. Instead of focusing on what's going wrong, focus on the highlights of your day, like a coffee with a friend or even a compliment from a stranger.

2. Appreciate the positive with gratitude.
Constant negativity can lead to a depressive, downward spiral instead of an upward trajectory. Always seek out the good, even when you feel like everything is going wrong. With every positive thought, give appreciation. Don't move past it; linger in the happiness of the moment. Consider keeping a daily journal. Take note of the high of the day, the low of the day and your plans for tomorrow. You'll find out your highs are better than you remember and your lows don't concern you over time. By graciously appreciating the positive, we are motivating ourselves. We are moving forward instead of hitting a wall of ambivalence. In other words, Success Breeds Success!

3. Accept what you cannot change.
I realize this tip is harder to practice than it is to write, but too often we dwell upon situations out of our control, in both the workplace and personal life. If we know we're committing and doing our absolute best, dwelling upon the inevitable just leads to roadblocks in our ability to self-care. We start to harbor resentment for the unfulfilling outcome of our efforts. If a particular situation is getting you down, ask yourself these two questions:

- "Did I do my very best?"
- "Is there anything I can learn from this situation?"

After you find positivity, learn from it and use it moving forward, letting go of what you cannot control.

4. Take time out for yourself.
People often think self-care means planning an elaborate vacation, a costly spa day, or a lengthy gym visit, when in fact, self-care is not a one and done deal. Individuals with less stress, more motivation and positive mind-sets often incorporate daily rituals into their self-care routine. Establishing small, simple, habitual changes can evolve into greater wellness victories. Once repeated, healthy efforts become healthy habits. Here are a few mental and physical self-care ideas you can (realistically) incorporate into your day:

  • Take 3 deep breaths when feeling stressed
  • Get 15 minutes of sun on a lunch break
  • Have a quick, 20-minute nap to recharge the mind
  • Journal your thoughts for 15 minutes a day
  • Watch your favorite funny YouTube video for a mid-day laugh
  • Listen to your favorite music for 20 minutes. No texting or browsing -- just you and the music.
  • Meditate for 10 minutes a day. Clear your mind. Don't hold onto or push any ideas away -- accept them and move on.
  • Go on a 30-minute walk. Notice the world. Notice the part you play in it.
  • Drink more water by keeping a bottle at your desk and always refilling when empty.
  • Take a relaxing bath instead of the usual quick shower. Make it an affair. Light candles, play music, prepare a book you don't mind getting wet.

5. Throw away the guilt of putting yourself first.
We're guilted into believing everyone's needs must be taken care of before our own. While you may be pressured into being a support beam for those around you, if you're not in the right mindset to do so, you can hurt yourself and those you're trying to help. It's OK to put your happiness before others. Take care of yourself, and everything and everyone around you will prosper. By being strong for yourself, you can learn to be strong for others. Love yourself, then allow yourself to love others. When we're happy, healthy and emotionally fulfilled, we provide a foundation for successful relationships with those same attributes.

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