by Gladys Diaz
For years, I put everything and everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. A part of me felt proud when I would go to work, burning up in fever, sacrifice what I wanted so that someone else could have what they wanted, and rarely ever said what I wanted, so as not to seem selfish.
Some people might describe this as being “loving,” and, to a certain extent, they are probably right. I was being very loving and generous with everyone… except myself. Then I started realizing that, in order to be able to give love, I was going to have to begin with me. I could not continue running on fumes and expecting to be the type of wife, mother, and woman I strive to be.
So I began practicing self-care… and lots of it. I began doing the things that I’d stopped doing somewhere along the line – those things that made me happy and brought me peace of mind, body, and spirit. I began reading – not for work, but for the fun of it. I began knitting and making jewelry because I love arts and crafts. I began taking courses that interested me and helped me grow spiritually and personally. I began taking bubble baths, slathering myself in lotion, and getting pedicures. And most of all, I began feeling like me again!
Now, before I give you the impression that I live a life of total leisure, I’ll let you know that I own my own business, do freelance work on top of that on the side, have two very active little boys, and do my own cooking and cleaning. I’ve just learned that I have to make myself a priority if I’m going to be able to have the patience it takes to create the kind of home, marriage, family, and career that I want!
So, how do I manage to get it all in? I plan for it! Here’s how you can, too!
1. Make a list of the things that make your heart sing.
- Include the things you used to do before you “grew up.” Did you like dancing? Did you play a sport? Did you enjoy drawing, singing, or another form of creative expression?
- Include things you like to do alone and the things you enjoy doing with your friends and family.
- Include things that make you feel soft, feminine, refreshed, and recharged, like massages, facials, lotions, doing your nails, etc.
Don’t worry about how “practical, realistic, or affordable it is for you to do this right now. Just have fun making the list!
2. Schedule time to take care of you. We are all super busy. If we begin trying to fit self-care in, I guarantee you it will be one of the first things to fall off of our very full plates. So, schedule your self-care time. You don’t have to set aside hours. Sometimes just 10 minutes of doing something you enjoy is enough to make you feel like yourself again!
3. Begin to notice the changes in you and around you. When you begin putting yourself first, you will start noticing how other people respond to you differently? Why? Because, when you’re not a stressed out, frazzled mess, you appear more peaceful, happy, and attractive. You also send a message that you care about and hold yourself in high esteem. So, don’t be surprised if you begin getting more compliments and if others, including your partner, begin helping you find ways to make sure you get your self-care in!
Taking care of ourselves is a way of loving ourselves. And there are so many different ways we can bring love to ourselves every day! For more ideas and to begin a 30-day journey to discovering self-love, read our book, 30 Days and 30 Ways to Fall In Love with YOU! In it you will find over 30 ways to love yourself and attract more love into your life! After all, the most meaningful and lasting relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself!
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