As you're learning to take care of yourself and move away from unhealthy behaviors, there can be a strange experienceof "now what?" When you've been used to soothing yourself in whatever problematic ways you have chosen (eating, restricting, shopping, caretaking, etc), leaving those behaviors can leave you feeling like you don't quite know yourself or know what to do with yourself. All of a sudden you're in uncharted territory and it can feel quite intense. It can be helpful to have a few ideas for your self-care to stay with your process of healing. Here are ten ideas to keep your self-care a priority.
Learn to air your feelings – share with someone you trust, journal, pray, exercise. Use your supportgroup.
Form a small group of people for regular support meetings – agree to be there for each other, listen without interrupting, offer advise only when asked for, take turns talking and listening, etc.
Take time – An hour a day to play, to read, to think, to get in touch with nature, to catch your breath, to meditate, to be with yourself, etc. If you can’t do an hour, take at least 20minutes.
Laugh – look for the humor in things around you. Laughter is very healing and releases stress.
Don’t try to take care of everybody – when you are busy and try to meet everyone’s needs, you will do justice for no one, including yourself. Learn to show people you value them without jumping in and rescuing them. Practice the three C’s (Concern, Curiosity, Confidence).
Learn to say “No” – as you become more comfortable saying no to the unreasonable expectations, requests or demands that will cause you to be overloaded, you will discover that you have more compassion (for others and for yourself). Then when you say “yes” you will feel better about yourself and the other people you respond to.
Learn to ask for what you need – waiting for people to give you what you need is a good way to NOT get it. And feeling deprived can make you resentful. No one is a mind reader – ASK
Stretch your muscles – break a sweat. Go for a walk, bike ride, take the stairs. Add something active to your daily life. (This isn’t about obligatory exercise – only movement, mood enhancement and self-care)
Pay attention to your spiritual life – Slow down. Listen to your inner voice. Spend time thinking about things that bring peace, beauty and serenity to your life. Find the courage to follow your own spiritual path if a traditional religion has not been helpful.
Talk to a professional if your emotions and behaviors feel like an ongoing struggle. Seeking help is a sign of strength, NOT weakness!