By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Ever thought you need to take better care of yourself?
Let’s people say they need to do better self-care, but often the things they do in the name of self-care make the situation worse. Indulging yourself in harmful things shouldn’t be a part of your self-care. A late-night out with friends or having an alcoholic drink may feel good in the short run but that lack of sleep and the damage alcohol can cause to your mood will leave you in worse shape than when you began.
Self-care shouldn’t be allowing yourself to indulge in negative habits. Of course, your routine should include some pleasure in life. But beware of doing harmful things in the name of self-care. The best way to improve your self-care is to build some positive aspects into your life which you want to do repeatedly. Self-care should be something you do every day not something you do as a binge when life overwhelms you. Here are a few of the things you should include in your life to improve your self-care.
Self-care includes practicing self-compassion.
Be kind and gentle to yourself. Treat yourself at least as well as you would treat a child or a pet. Don’t belittle yourself, call yourself names, or tell yourself you’re no good. Learn to accept yourself as you are. Self-compassion includes forgiving your mistakes.
Take care of yourself by becoming a happiness expert.
It’s easy to move through life, seeing the negative and experiencing self-induced suffering. Look for the happy moments in life. Happiness doesn’t come from another shot of adrenaline. An occasional ride on the roller coaster may be enjoyable but don’t be misled into thinking that happiness consists only of those peak excitement experiences. Contentment and solitude are also parts of happiness.
Self-care includes getting plenty of sleep.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that sleep is a waste of time. Cumulatively a lack of sleep will affect your thinking and your physical health. Self-care includes building into your daily routine plenty of sleep.
Engaging in a spiritual practice is part of self-care.
Whatever your spiritual or religious beliefs, make sure that you practice them. Say your prayers. Do your meditation. Allow some time for quiet contemplation. Building some form of spiritual practice in your life will help carry you through the rough times in life. People who have religious beliefs but failed to practice them develop cognitive dissonance which makes their life far more stressful.
Excessive stress can be harmful. Far more important than the absolute level of stress in your life is your stress mindset. People who see stress as always harmful and something that shouldn’t happen to them are easily overwhelmed. Look at the challenges in your life as opportunities for growth and accomplishment. People who view new challenges as exciting are far less likely to experience stress is harmful.
Self-care includes adding healthy foods to your diet.
Many people approach their diet as a form of punishment. Trying to eliminate things from your diet and deprive yourself makes life unpleasant. Those kinds of diets are easily given up. Instead of approaching your diet as what you should give up, try adding more healthy foods. Look for healthy choices that you enjoy eating and gradually displaced those unhealthy food items you’ve been eating with healthy ones you will enjoy eating.
Cut things out of your schedule.
In this modern life full of electronic instruments and constant activity, it’s easy to have schedules that start before you wake up in and after you’re already in bed. Don’t overwhelm yourself. One of the keys to productivity is figuring out what things to cut out of your schedule so that you have time for those things that are important. You need to be a top priority on your schedule. Improve your self-care by cutting tasks out of your schedule and leaving more time for the things that matter.
Buy things you will enjoy using.
Doing some “retail therapy” may feel like self-care at the moment, but when the credit card bills come due or your money spent before the month is over your effort at self-care has backfired. Trying to get pleasure out of buying something is doing it backward. The purchase may provide a small temporary positive experience but that fades very quickly especially if you have to continue to make payments on that purchase.
The thing that will bring you the most pleasure, in the long run, is having something you will use regularly. Spend your money on experiences rather than things. The latest fashion quickly goes out of style. There will be a new model electronic device sometimes even before you get the one you bought out of the package.
The trip of a lifetime adds to your happiness and is an excellent form of self-care. Don’t focus on spending time making more money to buy yourself and your family things. Include in your budget some time spent doing something with those that are close to you.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.
What if your family secrets put you in danger?
Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
Books are now available on Amazon.
Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.
For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel
Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.