Written by Alden Carroll, MSW, LCSW (guest on podcast and blog contributor)
Edited and Updated by Sandra Gentleman, RD
I don’t have time for myself. There is so much to do. If I rest, I’m being lazy. When I think of myself first, I’m being selfish.
Does this sound familiar? If so, this blog is for you. It’s time for you to start making yourself a priority. Why? Because your loved ones need you to. Your body and life need you to. It’s vital for you to give yourself permission to put yourself first for once. Your happiness, well-being, and health depend on you.
When growing up
When growing up, were you taught–even if not directly– that your worth is tied to your productivity or to being thoughtful of everyone else around you before you think of yourself? If so, you are not alone. We live in a “grind” and “hustle” culture that teaches us that our value is solely based on what we produce, whether that’s money, children, a beautiful household, or other external measures that aren’t about our essential selves. We are trained to be “human doings,” not human beings. This experience has been heightened by social media platforms where we get caught up in comparing ourselves to the well curated and carefully edited lives other people portray. In our world, we don’t have many models that truly value self-care as a multifaceted process that involves body, mind, and spirit.
In order to be the best version of yourself, to feel good, and be of maximum service to others in your life, it’s time to put yourself first.
We all have a well of energy within us. Think about energy as water in your well. If you give your water to everyone else, and don’t keep some for yourself, you become parched and burnt out. The way to start conserving energy for yourself is simple. A few Peaceful Practices a day can be a powerful start to shifting from taking care of everyone else first, at the expense of yourself, to finding a balance of caring for yourself while also managing all of your responsibilities and tending to others.
Today, starting right now as you read this, self-care can begin with just one breath.
Exhale fully, inhale deeply, and pause at the top of your breath until your body knows it’s time to exhale, then exhale fully through your mouth. Repeat this type of breath and notice any subtle shifts or changes in your body. Do you feel more calm, present, or relaxed? Did your shoulders drop a little, your muscles relax even slightly, or did you notice a pleasant release? If not, that’s ok. Keep breathing with intention. Once a little more calmness comes, pat yourself on the back and recognize that these simple breaths are a form of self-care.
Is it really that simple? Yes. Deep breaths are a good start to inviting in more nourishment to take the edge off of stress. When you feel stress in your body, it usually manifests as tension, shallow breathing, bracing, or being stuck in your head. I’m excited to teach you simple and practical strategies to help you reduce stress and feel calmer in your life.
Ready for change
If you’re here, you most likely are ready for change. You want to support yourself in better ways whether that be through eating healthier foods, getting more sleep, or practicing ways to reduce stress.
You want to wake up with a smile on your face, feeling refreshed and ready to take on your day with ease. With The Peaceful Practices, I’d love to teach you how to live your best life by reducing stress and practicing more generous self-care.