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Caring for yourself better in 2024!

Skip the New Year's resolution! Based on some of the discussion I frequently had in 2023, here’s a few tips I have on caring for yourself better this next year:





Tip #1 - Ditch the idea that you shouldn’t feel guilt.


Guilt may be something we experience when we ask for help, need to set boundaries, or opt for more self care. Why? Because maybe you’re not used to doing these things and the experience is new and unfamiliar. The guilt attached to this is then perceived as a warning that “you’re doing something wrong” when you’re actually doing something right. 


So, when the guilt surfaces:

  • Ask yourself “Is what I’m doing wrong or just different?” (If what you’re doing is actually hurtful to another, then yes, maybe apologize or resolve the issue). But otherwise, see bullet points below.

  • Remind yourself that guilt, if due to self care or new boundaries, is a common response.

  • Tell yourself that these things (self-care, boundaries, asking for help) are okay and healthy. 

  • Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Maybe do a self-compassion meditation or place your hand on your heart as you take some deep, soothing breaths. You've got this!


Tip #2 - Turn off the electronics and get out!


Meet a friend for coffee, get outside and take a walk. In a cold climate? Bundle up properly or go to a local mall or walking track and just move your body. Seriously! We are too bombarded with 24/7 access to what’s going on in every part of the world, what new thing your neighbor is doing, or what each influencer is trying to convince you “need” to buy, and you know what? It’s exhausting and increasing anxiety at an alarming rate. I'm not saying you shouldn't be informed, I'm just saying - do yourself and your loved ones a favor and be more present in YOUR life. Even if you can’t leave your house due to your health, shut the electronics off for some time and see what it feels like to engage more with your immediate surroundings.


Tip #3 - Stop ignoring what your body is telling you.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: your brain is part of your body, but it is often forgotten that there is a connection. Our hormones, gut health, what we eat and drink and how much stress we have in our lives have soooo much to do with how we feel from day to day, and they also have a lot to do with our mental health. A body that is not well is also a mind that is not well. Start talking with your PCP or OBGYN, but don’t stop searching for support if you feel dismissed, ignored, or they just want to throw you on some meds without testing things like your hormones, gut health or asking about your diet and stress levels. Seek out a functional doctor in your area for further support. 


Tip #4 - Narrow down your support system.


Stop wasting so much time on the people that demand more than they give, and start noticing the people in your life who will let you show up as you need to. Who builds you up? Who prioritizes you? Who values you? Who respects and cares for your boundaries and needs? Who makes time and space for you in their lives as you do for them? These are your people. Even if it’s just one person- that’s your support. 


Tip #5 - Stop forcing it.


Whether you’re dealing with uncertainty, wanting change and setting strict rules in order to achieve it, or trying to make a relationship work that’s causing much distress… if you’re trying to force an outcome it’s the equivalent of trying to stick a square peg in a round hole. You’ll get discouraged and in some cases, just give up. So what is the opposite of force? You can decide that for yourself, but what I think of is ease, gentleness, fluidity and flexibility. Really take some time to consider if you’re being forceful with yourself or a situation and ask yourself “Why am I forcing this and what’s an alternative way to approach it?”. You may also want to seek out support to help you navigate these areas.



Don’t expect things to change overnight.


The tips above are just suggestions, a starting point. Let yourself ease into it. In fact, these are excellent things to talk with your therapist about, as many of them might be difficult to navigate on your own. You also don't have to tackle all 5 tips. Maybe just pick one to start. Whatever you decide, I'm wishing you a healthy, happy year filled with new ways to care for yourself!


If you found this blog post helpful, or know someone who would benefit, please share!


 

*This blog is intended for educational purposes only and is not a replacement for therapy. If you struggle with excessive guilt, lack a healthy support system, or are struggling with anything else mentioned in this blog post, please seek out support from a licensed professional. We are here to help you!

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