If I could give you just one piece of life coaching advice, it would be this: start with self-care.
I know what you’re thinking…it sounds too simple! We’ve all heard this advice before. Yet, I’ve seen this truth in my own life, and in the lives of many of my friends and clients. At those times when we feel stuck and unsure of the path ahead, self-care is usually missing from our lives.
As women, it is easy to neglect ourselves in order to nurture everyone else. We are overwhelmed with too much to do; fitting in time to take care of ourselves is at the bottom of our list of obligations. However, when we shift our focus to our own needs, we actually generate energy needed to tend to others and we build up our internal reserves. We come away restored and with a more positive, enthusiastic mindset.
Self-Care Can Unblock You
The very basics of self-care are attending to your body by exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and sustaining yourself with healthy food. You know how great you feel when you get a good night’s rest, get to the gym or eat healthy all day long: it’s a victory with the payoff of feeling stronger and younger. Those endorphins elevate your mood and exercised muscles help you to sleep better at night.
The benefits of sleep, exercise and good nutrition are obvious. But there is another type of self-care that is equally necessary to maintain your optimism and vitality: doing something that feeds your soul. Some may think this to be optional in their hectic lives, however I have found that investing in their core being exponentially improves my clients’ peace of mind and liveliness.
What is self-care for you?
If you have ignored your needs for years, it may take some searching to find what it is that makes you smile and feel great. I have a client who likes to cook gourmet meals, one who knits and another who writes in her journal. Some clients find that fifteen minutes of solitude does the trick. Maybe you need to take a break from your routine to connect with friends or loved ones. The key is to do something that fulfills you, to do it often and to not feel guilty about it.
If this seems impossible, take heart, your investment will pay off. Most of my clients come to me with challenging goals, like writing a book or improving a difficult relationship. They feel blocked, yet as we assess the different areas of their lives, it becomes clear that recovering their get-up-and-go and reclaiming their dampened spirit is the place to begin.
Once my clients integrate self-care into their daily routines, they have the energy and clarity to explore a vision of what they want their life to be. Something as simple as a morning walk routine has helped a client tackle enormous challenges such as fixing a difficult marriage. Another client treated herself to a small gift each week, which gave her that extra boost to creatively solve problems at work. Others find that morning meditation is the key to self-fulfillment and setting their intention for the day.
Self-care isn’t Optional
Let me leave you with this thought: Self-care is not a luxury. It is not optional. It is truly essential. It could take as little as ten minutes a day to do one thing for yourself. Try doing ten minutes of self-care and see if the boost you get lasts for hours. You will find that it’s easier to get back to doing those things you’ve been dreading or putting off.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job as a life coach is helping clients to break down ambitious life goals into small, manageable actions. We clarify big visions, then shift our focus to small tasks that are easier to accomplish. Small wins give you the confidence and energy to continue making progress towards your bigger life goals. That starts with the basic essentials of integrating consistent care for our body and soul.