Emotional Self Care Strategies – Learn to Give to Yourself

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Emotional Self-Care Strategies – Stop Giving to Everyone Else But Yourself

Learn to Take Better Care of Yourself Starting with 300 Seconds a Day

Are you on your daily to-do list?

We go through our days from morning until evening making it all happen. Our normal routine seems to be to complete as many tasks in a day as we humanly can. From the second the alarm clock sounds to the moment we collapse on our pillow at night.

Every day, we get ourselves pulled together and we move along non-stop doing all things necessary, whether we’re at home or at work. We are propelled by the desire to keep ourselves and our family fed, housed, clean, and safe, among a million other reasons.

Full days capped off with evenings often spent schlepping ourselves or our kids around for activities, on errands and keeping commitments, i.e., school events, sports, music lessons, doctor appointments, vet visits, you get the picture.

You are showing up each day for everyone else in your life, but are you showing up for yourself?

“Other people’s needs can occupy several lifetimes’ worth of our attention, and if you let them, they will.” – Jen Sincero

Are you any giving daily time and attention to yourself? To what makes you feel renewed, excited, enthused, healed, inspired, whole or nourished?

Maybe you are exercising regularly and eating well and have committed to a healthy lifestyle.

But I’m talking about a daily dose of inner thought, introspection to all that makes you you. A deeper quest to collect yourself and think about nothing but you. Sounds uncomfortable and unfamiliar, huh?

Maybe you are stuck in a cycle of overwhelm – ignoring your own needs.

If we continually sideline our needs and desires, and yet continue to give, give, give – the proverbial well runs dry.

Are you sitting on the cracked dusty dirt at the bottom of a dry parched well wondering how you got there and how to climb out?

Maybe you’re cozy there. You’ve probably spent years at the bottom of that well.

That’s not to say that our days are not spent with meaning. Working on our careers, raising a family, devoted to providing for ourselves and others, running to sporting events, parent conferences, client calls, doctor appointments, taking care of ill or aging parents – all of it is important and needed to happen. This is not about regrets.

This is about losing sight of ourselves and losing touch with the importance of our own nourishment.

Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of ourselves in all the busyness of serving everyone else.

And on top of that, midlife can put a heavy book-ended squeeze of emotional pressure on us – further depleting our giving well.

My emotional squeeze is that my kids are naturally growing more independent; leaning (and moving) farther away from me. At the same time, I’m watching my aging 83-year old mother, slowly and quite literally, disappear into thin air right before my very eyes.

Being squashed in the middle of this emotion-filled and ever-tightening vise has been painful. But it’s opened my eyes to see where I stand. Who I am. And how I’ve been so caught up in being there for everyone else that I’ve lost parts of myself.

Who are you? The real you. Not the person who runs around like a maniac taking care of everyone. What are your dreams and goals for yourself?

No, it’s not selfish to have them and it’s not wrong to inventory how you feel each morning and to focus a few minutes on what you can do for yourself, for your own mental health, for your own day, week, future.

Five minutes is enough.

Can you take five minutes when you get up each morning – before your regular get ready for the day start checking off to-do’s routine begins – to focus on yourself, what’s in your heart, what you desire, how to take better care of yourself? Caring for your emotional health is imperative.

It’s uncomfortable to focus on yourself, right? But keep going.

Let’s push a little bit farther. I challenge you to write down your needs and wants.

Write your me-me-me notes in a planner or a notebook or on post-its, or on toilet paper if that’s what’s available!

Set the timer on your phone for five minutes.

Use those five minutes to think about yourself. Not your job, partner, kids, laundry, appointments for the day, bills, deadlines, or that you’re running low on dog food.

I can hear you saying you don’t have 300 seconds to give yourself.

Yes, you do! Admit it! You can find it. You need it. You deserve it.

We forgot how to receive. Time to relearn!

You know that you are going to figuratively dehydrate, shrivel up and croak if you don’t pull yourself out of the parched giving well for 300 seconds a day to drink in some mental self-care!

Wake up, my friends! We aren’t getting any younger!

If you don’t grab your early morning routine by the nuts and devote at least 300 seconds a day to feel your own truth – rediscover your own goals, dreams, wishes, wants – it ain’t never gonna happen!

 “The beginning is always today.” – Mary Wollstonecraft, 18th Century feminist/writer

Write what you want to do for yourself. It could be that you want to read a favorite book for five minutes before bed, or to stretch, or to try meditating, or to sign up for a class, or to learn to paint, or to make time to call a friend you’ve been missing…

Then commit to making that little self-care goal happen in the course of then next thirty days.

No one is going to do this for you – you have to shout Hell to the YES and make it happen!

The effects of throwing water into your in well profoundly affect your ability to continue giving your best to your job, your family, your friends, your community.

Nourish yourself. No more excuses. Three-hundred seconds a day for mindful introspective brainstorming and planning strategies for your emotional self-care. Minimum.

Three hundred seconds a day is roughly 30 hours at the end of the year. That’s equivalent to working on yourself for yourself for an entire work week (minus the lunch breaks)! That should be enough time to retrain your brain, start to take action and get the self-care ball rolling!

Cheers to taking little teeny tiny baby steps (or big ones if you’re feeling bold!) toward living your best year ever! 

– Marlene

Can you relate? You might enjoy reading Setting Small Goals to Achieve Big Ones, Living Your Best Life After 50 – Separate from the Drama or Curate Uplift for Your Midlife Mental Health.


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4 thoughts on “Emotional Self Care Strategies – Learn to Give to Yourself

  1. Self care?? Seriously- we take our kids or our parents (elder care is huge) to the doctor – – Urgent care, at that – at the first sign of pain or being uncomfortable. Meanwhile, we can have our own “non-urgent” medical condition for years before actually addressing it – and by then it has just become a pain or a “thing” that we live with. Weeks ago – I reached out in the hopes of finally getting that process started (prompted by this blog) and yet I never followed through after initial calls. No appointments were made. I need to get with the program!

    Love my Cheers!! Always great perspective!

    1. I hear you! Same here – we’ve gotten used to mending everyone else while we can be literally falling apart. It takes deliberate action for us to begin to think about getting what WE need. Thank goodness for good friends who can help us stay accountable. MAKE THAT CALL ON MONDAY TRACEY!!! ; )

  2. I used to be so much better at taking “me-time” and filling my own cup. Since I have retired, it seems like I have nothing but time stretching out endlessly before me. I was a better steward of all those hours when I felt like I needed to be efficient and on-task to get everything in. You would think it would be easier to remember to do self-care now that I have more time, but it is not!

    1. What a great point! I guess that shows us how we need to be very DELIBERATE about making self-care an action item each day. No matter how much or how little free time we have. Thank you for sharing Ellen!

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