The Importance Of Self-Care And Forming Positive Habits
At times we may feel as though we are hamsters on a wheel, feeling like we are overwhelmed with work, school or family obligations, etc. It is easy for our minds to become overloaded and neglect self-care. Self-care is vital for optimal mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Much like exercise, self-care is something that needs to be maintained. It is not a one time, quick fix. Here are a few things to keep in mind in terms of maintaining a positive outlook.
Know Your Worth
It is important to have a healthy relationship with yourself. Example: use positive self-talk. Getting into this habit helps to promote self-confidence and self-esteem. It is necessary to set boundaries reminding yourself and others that your needs are important. Healthy balance
Being overworked or overwhelmed can increase your stress level and exhaustion. Increased stress makes it more difficult to be productive, increasing disorganization, and the feeling of being depleted. This can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and or insomnia. Find ways to de-stress that work for you such as taking a walk, talking to a friend or loved one, going to a movie, or reading.
While some stress is healthy in order to complete tasks, constant stress and anxiety can have negative effects on your health.
Make Sure That You Are Living, Not Just Existing
Do not just go through the motions. There are responsibilities and tasks that we need to complete on a regular basis, but it is essential to take time out on a daily basis to do things that bring you joy and a sense of peace and fulfillment. If you do not take the time to do this regularly, you will get burnt out.
Be Mindful Of Your Physical Health
Self-care is not just for your mental health, it is also about taking care of yourself physically. It is important to find ways to be physically active. Find something that you enjoy such as yoga, running, or taking a fitness class. Anything to get movement flowing. Exercise is very effective in combating anxiety, stress, and depression. It helps break the cycle in the brain and change neural pathways.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
– Vivian Greene
Habit formation is the process in which behaviors become automatic. Habits can form without a person intending to acquire them, but they can also be formed deliberately or eliminated to better suit one’s personal goals. Here are seven steps to forming positive habits.
7 Steps To Successfully Forming A Positive Habit
1) Make a Decision
Set a goal of a habit you would like to put in motion. Think about the steps it is going to take to make it come to fruition. Start small, so as not to get overwhelmed; continue to build as you go. For example, if you decide to wake up early and exercise each morning, set your clock for a specific time, and when the alarm goes off, immediately get up, put on your exercise clothes and begin your exercise session.
2) No Excuses
Make sure that your goal is attainable so that you are less likely to make excuses for breaking your new habit during its formative stages. If you tell yourself that you want to get up at 6 a.m. each morning, make sure that you discipline yourself to get up at 6 a.m. before you know it, this will second nature.
3) Tell Others You Are Practicing a New Behavior
Tell others that you are going to begin practicing a particular behavior. It is amazing how much more disciplined and determined you will become when you talk about it with others.
4) Visualize Your New Habit
Visualize yourself performing or behaving in a particular way in a particular situation. The more often you visualize and imagine yourself acting as if you already had the new habit, the more rapidly this new behavior will be accepted by your subconscious mind and become automatic.
5) Create an Affirmation
Create an affirmation that you repeat over and over to yourself. This repetition dramatically increases the speed at which you develop the new habit. For example, you can say something like, “I get up and get going immediately at 6:00 AM each morning!” Repeat these words the last thing before you fall asleep. In most cases, you will automatically wake up minutes before the alarm clock goes off, and soon you will need no alarm clock at all.
6) Remain Consistent
Persist in the new behavior until it is so automatic and easy that you actually feel uncomfortable when you do not do what you have decided to do.
7) Reward Yourself
Give yourself a reward of some kind for practicing in the new behavior. Each time you reward yourself, you reaffirm and reinforce the behavior. Soon you begin to associate, at an unconscious level, the pleasure of the reward with the behavior. You set up your own force field of positive consequences that you unconsciously look forward to as the result of engaging in the behavior or habit that you have decided upon.