As the world starts a new year, we start a new day — and every day is an opportunity for growth and change. Every day is a good day to take care of ourselves. You don’t have to start on January 1st with a New Year’s Resolution, and you don’t have to wait until next year if you have already missed starting on the first. Give yourself permission to start taking care of yourself every day!
Last blog post article I wrote, I provided some guidance on how to notice your needs with compassion. Once you notice, here are 5 ideas of what you can do next.
- Speak to yourself compassionately — like you would a friend. If you’ve ever tuned into your inner dialogue — how you actually talk to yourself — are you surprised to discover that you address yourself in a way you would never address someone you loved. It’s likely you are an excellent friend who is kind to those you care about. Would you treat your best friend the way you treat yourself? Do you ever do nice things for yourself — the way you do for your friends or loved ones?
One way to help you learn this idea is reading Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, by Dr. Kristin Neff. If you are looking for a new book this year to invest in, this one is a great gift to yourself!
- Use your voice to ask for what you need. Use your voice — because you deserve to get what you need. Think about all the simple things you think about asking for, and then don’t. Something as simple as: Can you bring this upstairs for me, please? Practice asking for something small, once a day. Practice not ignoring the voice in your head that wants to ask, and then doesn’t.
- Set proactive boundaries. Setting proactive boundaries is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and your relationships. It goes beyond just reactive boundaries, which can come in response to a particular situation or threat. Instead, proactive boundaries allow you to shape the life you want! Proactive boundaries might look like: carving out time for movement, dedicating time to your meditation or yoga practice, watching less news to protect your nervous system, cultivating a social media page that only brings you validation and support, and deciding which information you share with whom. Creating healthy boundaries is one of the most important things you can do this year.
- Surround yourself with people you have, or can build, safe relationships with. Connections and relationships are part of good health. Consider what you can do to find, show up for, enhance and protect these relationships. Trusting in safe relationships can set the stage for vulnerability and healing.
Here’s what all of these tips look like, put together.
You notice that you’ve been feeling ruffled in the morning, and irritable or angry towards your family. You notice that it makes your stomach feel tight or your shoulders feel heavy.
You speak to yourself with compassion: Ugh, this is hard!
You love your family and want to show up for them — realizing first, you need to show up for yourself!
You compassionately consider: How can I create space in my morning, so I don’t feel this way? What is going on for me? How do I want to interact to feel good?
You figure out what you need – a slower start to the mornings. And then you use your voice! You tell your family you love them and own that you need more time in the mornings to be able to show that love and compassion. You ask your family for space — to wait to ask you any questions until you’re done drinking your morning tea — and then you hold that boundary. Sharing that holding that boundary will help all of you — being more available to them.
Finally, you treat yourself like you would a friend and say, “Good job, self!”
Try this, in pieces or in full if you can! Each day is a new opportunity to provide yourself the care you deserve.
Self-care means a lot of things! What does it mean to you?
Taking care of yourself in 2023 can mean wearing fuzzy slippers or practicing mediation, or getting your nails done or stopping to watch your favorite game or show. Though, here’s what the media doesn’t usually focus on — self-care is truly setting proactive boundaries. Self-care is using your voice to ask for what you need. Self-care is speaking to yourself kindly. Self-care is prioritizing healthy relationships.
If self-care for you looks like pursuing therapy this year, please reach out.
Whatever you choose to do for your self-care, our wish for you is only the wonderful things you deserve!
- 6 ways to calm your nervous system right now and understand it
- You Can Reduce the Stress You’re Feeling Right Now!
- We Need to Help More Trauma Survivors Value Self-Care (Podcast)
- How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Relationships After Trauma
- Trauma’s Impact on Relationships: Finding New Skills to Talk Through Relationship Pain
- 3 Concepts to Help Trauma Survivors Move Forward Into Healthier Relationships
- 3 Ways Healthy Relationships Help Heal Trauma