Self + Care = Happy & Healthy

by Katie Goddeyne

I’ve been focusing on self-care quite a bit lately.

My best friend asked me to marry him on June 3, and things have been kind of a whirlwind ever since. Wedding planning is crazy and time-consuming and stressful and fun – so much fun – but it’s a lot for this particular introvert to handle on the reg.

Cue the latest and greatest interest in self-care, which is really just a trendy way of saying that I’m focusing on putting my wellness first both physically and mentally.

I learned some time ago that you absolutely, positively have to put yourself and your own needs ahead of anyone else’s.  If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you’re risking losing yourself. I’ve gone that way before and have no intentions of taking the same route again.

So what does self-care really mean?

I think that varies from person to person. For me, self-care means a handful of things.

  1. Get to bed early – This one, which we all know we should be doing, is a toughie for me, so it makes the list. I’ve always been a night owl, but my schedule demands early and long days. I’m much happier about my life in general if I get to bed a decent hour.
  2. Be silly – A large part of my day is spent just goofing off with my fiancé Eric and/or my dog Maggie. Being silly is one of the most important pieces of my life. Let loose and let go of all of the responsibilities and expectations that life demands of you for a few minutes.
  3. Take the quiet time – I’m an introvert. I only have so much social energy to get me through the day. I HAVE to recharge, or I turn into an ugly version of myself. This looks different on different days. Sometimes it’s spent reading, other times I look at memes for half an hour. I used to feel guilty about taking time for myself, but I shouldn’t have because I really need that time.
  4. Unplug with the ones you love – Ok, so this one is hard for most of us. Our lives are so dependent on technology. I essentially live and die by my Google Calendar. Take the time to put your phone on silent and just be in the moment. Go for a walk with a family member. Play with your pet. Make a meal with your spouse. Eliminating the distractions is incredibly freeing.
  5. Knock something small off of your list – I stole this one from my aunt. I’m a list-maker, which is great because it keeps me organized and on track, but if I look at the list overall, things get overwhelming. Instead, just do one thing on the list and go from there. You’ll feel great about getting something done, but you won’t feel stressed about the other to-dos.

Ultimately, self-care should meet your own needs. These are just some of mine. I also keep in mind that some days, self-care looks completely different than it did the day before. For example, some days self-care for me is just taking a minute for a good cry. I’m a huge proponent of crying. I think it’s a great way to cleanse and reset. Seriously, try it. It’s not a staple on my list, but if my life demands it, I allow it.

Find what works for you and start working time in for it. Habit-setting can be difficult, but it’s worth it in the end – especially if it helps you to be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself.

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