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Self-care is easier said than done. Why is it so hard for people to care for themselves? It’s not so easy to show yourself extra love when you are feeling down in the dumps, especially when you miss your people.

Maybe it’s this time of the year. The holidays can be triggering for many and leave a pit in their stomachs. The thought of spending the holidays alone or without your special someone can be enough to induce a panic attack. Maybe your person is deployed overseas or maybe the craziness of life has disrupted you from seeing your favorite friends.

Let’s not forget COVID-19; whether someone you know has died from the illness or the virus is keeping you from gathering with your people, it’s all tough to experience.

Whatever the cause may be, one thing is certain: you must show yourself some love. But, when you feel stuck in the mud, how do you practice self-love?

Hollie White from Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW), formally known as HWPP – Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, gives insight about demonstrating self-love. Driven by a vision for a healthier Wisconsin, the AHW Endowment reaches statewide, propelling the most promising work and ideas to build a healthier Wisconsin for generations to come.

A better Wisconsin starts with showing ourselves the care and compassion we deserve. Practice these 5 tips as a way to increase your self-love and care.

1. Practice

As much as people think that practicing self-care isn’t something that they need to implement into their lives, it is. There is no right or wrong way to show yourself some love. A little practice doesn’t hurt though. By practicing, people will make these efforts a part of their routine. You can too.

“Start small. You do not need to spend money or carve out hours on end. Make a goal to do something relaxing that you enjoy daily for 10 minutes a day – read, journal, walk, sing, a long shower, music you enjoy, whatever would brighten your day” says White. “Self-care is not just pedicures and meditation… anything that brings you a sense of calm, peace, and enjoyment, is self-care!”

Once you practice, it will become more natural. Self-care won’t feel like a hassle, but just a part of your day-to-day life. Life is hard, though, when you’re missing a significant piece of it.

When you are missing a person that you love and it seems so hard to just keep going, practicing may seem like the last thing you want to do. In the back of your mind, remember what that person would want for you.

2. Pencil Yourself In

Are you having trouble with finding time for yourself? Treat yourself like a priority.

White shares how she finds time for herself, “Sometimes when my days are busy, adding an appointment with myself makes me hold that appointment just like I would with my doctor. It is all about the level of importance that you give it, along with small chunks of time.”

So whether you want to physically pencil yourself into your notebook or set a reminder on your phone, this can help. Your mental health and physical needs are a must and shouldn’t go unappreciated. Take time for yourself!

If it makes it easier, use the time for yourself to reflect on what you loved about the person you are missing. Think about what qualities that you loved about them and work towards using your time to embody the things you loved about them.

3. Do What Makes You Happy

We all have activities that we love to do, but life gets in the way of actually letting us do what we love. Chores, school, work and every other item on the to-do list seem to take priority over ourselves. However, it doesn’t take much to fill up your cup when you are doing what you like to do.

Whether you know it or not, participating in an activity you enjoy can give your mental health a boost. Missing someone? Do an activity with yourself that you loved doing with them.

White enjoys doing yoga, going for walks, riding her bike, and spending time with people she cares about. Even on busy days, she will write or read for 10 minutes. That time has so much value for herself and her well-being.

So whether you like to shop, cook, play a video game, paint, make a craft, go for a drive, watch a movie, or even play with your pet, there’s always some time to do what you love.

4. Know Where You Stand

Showing yourself some self-love is often confused with being selfish. People often feel guilty for taking care of themselves. It’s hard to know where you stand, especially if you feel regret or guilt.

If you find yourself feeling down and having to rethink how you feel, it’s okay. Knowing what you are feeling and processing those thoughts is important. If you are experiencing loss, this can be tough to navigate. Take time for yourself, your emotions and your thoughts.

Don’t feel like you have to be where others are. We all walk to the beat of a different drum.

5. Think of Yourself First

“We hear all of the time, you have to put your mask on first, or you can’t pour from an empty cup… but I don’t think we really let that sink in and recognize that this is completely true. Even if you have a hard time doing it for yourself, doesn’t it make sense that you are more likely to be your best self if YOU take care of yourself?” explains White.

When you give yourself attention first, you can later provide for others. Putting yourself first gives you the tools to then care for others.

White notes, “if you feel energized, refreshed, and have relaxation time, won’t you be less irritable with your kids? More empathetic to your partner? Self-care is so important for us, but if you struggle to see that, reflect on how it makes you show up better in all of the ways.”

Developing self-love benefits more than just yourself. When you love yourself and show yourself compassion, that energy becomes contagious.

Resources

Taking care of your mental health isn’t always easy. Help is available if needed. These resources are in Racine and can help guide you.

Racine County Mental Health Resources
Get Professional Help

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