When you’re experiencing an energy drain and feeling unmotivated, it’s important to refuel your passion and energy by taking some time to practice emotional self care.
While I am a huge advocate for self-care — I think of it as more than just bubble baths.
Self care feeds us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
To shift your mindset around self-care start looking at it through a multi-dimensional lens.
Think of it like going to the gas station:
First, you recognize that your car is running low on gas and needs to be refueled, so you decide to get off of the highway. You decide it’s time to take a break.
Then you pump the gas. You give the car the fuel that it needs to go on. When it comes to self care, this is the physical part of it. This is where you stop to eat, pause to stretch your body, exercise. Without refueling, your car (and you!) cannot run.
But if we want to have the best possible experience in our cars, then we also take a little bit of time to use the window washing solution so we can see clearly and aren’t muddled by the distraction of dried bird poop on the windshield. The same applies to our bodies. When we create the right conditions, we can free ourselves from unnecessary distractions.
If you want to make your ride even better, you stop by the vacuum and tidy up any debris and crumbs from the floor of the car or pump up the tires to get the air pressure just right so that it takes a little less gas to go the same distance.
Your energy is the same way. You can do small things throughout the day, as part of your routine, that support different aspects of your wellbeing so that it takes less energy to get through your day.
You can think of the gas station analogy above like a routine. When you go to the gas station, it’s habit to wipe down the windows, right? Once something is a part of your routine, it becomes a habit and you don’t have to spend extra time or energy thinking about it.
Meditation is a mental palate cleanser. It clears the mind and gets rid of the residue from your past actions and activities so the flavor of your next meal isn’t muddled by the last.
Learning to meditate is learning to control and regulate your emotions. It allows you to separate you (the real, capital Y YOU) from the thoughts that arise in response to the world around you. You are so much more.
Meditation should energize you when you are feeling down, soothe and soften your edges when you are anxious and give you the skills to focus your attention and funnel it towards something productive.
Related: How to Use the Power of Meditation to Control Yourself
Reading is a fantastic use of time that doesn’t get enough credit. Reading can relax you, transport you, and educate you. Making time for reading is making time for yourself.
Try scheduling 20 minutes of reading. You can start by doing this once or twice a week if it feels too much to do it every day. With the right reading materials, 20 minutes might not even be enough!
Choose books or articles around a topic that you are interested in or that you want to learn more about. Read books that relate to your life or your work (or the work you want to be doing!), so that even if what you’re reading isn’t immediately relevant and useful, it might be somewhere down the line.
There is so much information out there about emotional self care, but that in itself can be overwhelming! Too many options can cause stress and when you’re stressed, making decisions gets challenging.
The key to building sustainable habits (and we want your emotional self care routine to become a habit) is starting simple. Trying to do too much too fast can cause burnout, even when it comes to taking care of yourself.
Instead, focus on one simple self-care act that you can use to benefit you in a number of ways.
Planning ahead makes everything — and I mean everything — easier. If you dedicate a little bit of time at the start of the week getting prepared and planning ahead, you’ll save so much time in the long run.
Plan your meals so you don’t have to spend time everyday deciding what you’re going to eat.
Plan your schedule so you know what you need to get done and when.
Schedule out your downtime! We often think we don’t need to plan our downtime, but it’s so easy to waste the time we should be using restfully! Know what activities relax and revitalize you and have everything you need to enjoy them.
For planning ahead to be effective, you need to enforce your boundaries about your schedule. When it’s time to start working, get to work. When it’s time to eat, stop and eat!
Taking a multidimensional approach to emotional self care sounds complicated, but it really just means taking care of the different aspects of yourself. Create a self care routine that supports your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
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