Are you struggling right now? Have you come to the realization that you never put yourself first? Are you noticing how the lack of self care in your life is affecting your self worth, your relationships, perhaps your entire life? I have been there. I am still there. I have googled “self care ideas,” “how to build self worth,” and “self love tips” many times over.
The Self Care Struggle
You want to feel better. You want to improve your life. But you feel stuck.
I could write a list of 500 self care ideas for you. But if that list totally overwhelms you during a time when you are feeling incredibly low or deeply discouraged, what’s the point? Or if none of the ideas speak to you, or fit your lifestyle, or make you feel better once you try them, then what?
I could tell you to take a bubble bath surrounded by candles. But if you don’t have a bathtub, or a match to light your candles, where does that leave you?
If You Struggle With Self Care, Please Try This One Thing
All hope is not lost and I have a better idea. I had a bit of a breakthrough recently, and I wanted to share it with you. Hopefully it helps you break free of the self care struggle and find what works for you.
Ready? Here it is …
I want you to complete this sentence:
“I feel better when ________.”
That’s all I need you to do . I feel better when _______.
This is not about me, sweet reader, it’s about you. But since an example might be helpful, here is one of mine. I feel better when … I put lotion on after a shower. It doesn’t take long to slather lotion on from head to toe and when I actually do it I feel wonderful! My skin feels nice and soft, I’m more comfortable throughout the day, I’m more confident, I feel more beautiful. More often than not though, I feel rushed and like I “don’t have the time” so I skip that self care step.
But when I don’t take the time to put on lotion after a shower, I am sending myself a message. When I say “I don’t have time for this” I am really saying “I don’t matter. I’m not important. I don’t have time for me.”
A few more examples if you need them … I feel better when I take a hot shower at the end of a long day, to wash away the stress. I feel better when I reach out to a friend or family member and tell them I am struggling. I feel better when I do something nice for someone else. I feel better when I drink lot’s of water. I feel better when I release my pent up emotions (think a good ugly cry brought on by a chick flick like The Notebook).
Why Does This Work?
You might be asking, why “I feel better?”
I think it’s easy to come up with a negative list; to name all of the things that make us feel worse about ourselves and about life. That list might include abandoning our workout plans, binge eating junk food, overindulging in alcohol, staying up too late, watching hours of reality TV shows and more.
When we are hurting or stressed, we know what we shouldn’t do. But we may not know what we should do to turn things around and start feeling better. We might feel desperate and like we are grasping at straws to find one thing that will help us feel better and move forward. So do the exercise I have suggested and find out how you complete the sentence “I feel better when _______.”
It’s okay if you don’t know all the answers right away. If you can’t complete the sentence right now, that’s alright. Don’t beat yourself up. Just start paying attention. Start noticing the small things that make you feel better. Things that make you feel happier, healthier, calmer, stronger. Take note and start building your list of “I feel better when” ‘s.
What’s your “I feel better when …?”