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Take a break for Self-Care

Posted by Mirela Mendoza on

This year many of us have learned the importance of taking care of our physical, mental, and spiritual health. But even now, many people struggle with finding the time to slow down and connect with themselves. How many times have you wake up feeling overwhelmed and drained, as if all of the things you must do put you on low battery at the start of the day? Our minds tend to be cluttered with small tasks; between work, the house, family, it’s natural to get stressed out and crave a few minutes of peace. Taking a break is an opportunity to stop doing things for everyone around you and treat yourself instead.

But how to take this pause without feeling guilty? We have this need to be hyper-productive, where every second must be invested in achieving a goal or completing a task. Often when we find ourselves with a minute to spare, we use that time to do chores or worry about the tasks of tomorrow. Practice doing nothing, your need to replenish and play is as important as your need to get through the to-do list. Remember that time spent working on yourself is never wasted. You are still achieving something, but the focus is on the inside. To pause is a great way to recharge batteries and feel refreshed, it will help you nurture your mind, discover a creative side, and even boost your productivity.

Where to begin? There are a few activities you can do to get into the habit of making time for yourself and practicing self-care.

Gift yourself some time

If you find yourself needing a break, this may be a sign that you need to build a new relationship with someone who deserves attention: you! Make a date with yourself to do something you enjoy and write it down in your planner. Sometimes you’ll have to say "no" and honor that commitment. You don't even have to get out of the house or take an entire afternoon. There are "empty" spaces in almost every day, small moments you can reclaim. Try arriving ten minutes early for an appointment, making your coffee break a peaceful moment, or walking the dog without your phone. Taking these moments in your day to be alone is a way to buzz out the outside world and enjoy time with yourself.

Practice Mindfulness

Breathe deeply, be still, and check-in with yourself; at least for a few minutes every day. Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully focusing all of your attention on the current moment, and accepting it without judgment. Our minds are so worried thinking about the past or the future, we struggle to enjoy the moment we have for ourselves. Take it easy, go for a walk, enjoy a cup of tea, feel excited as kids do. Forget about the phone, unread emails, and social media statuses. This is a time to deeply explore what you are feeling in the moment, how you connect with everything around you. It may be scary to stop looking outside and concentrate on the inside, but it's a very rewarding activity. It develops a sense of self-awareness that teaches us how to take care of our body, see more clearly the solution to a problem or create something extraordinary.

Meditation for the soul

At the start, it may feel strange to sit in silence, listening to your thoughts and feelings, without doing anything else. Meditation is a place where you pay attention to your breath while remaining in the present moment. Think of it as the next step of mindfulness. And just like in sports, this is an activity of discipline and practice. Practicing meditation can lower our stress levels and bring amazing benefits to health. It also helps us connect, improve our focus, and be kinder to ourselves. If you need extra help, you can use an app like Headspace or, my personal favorite, the 21-Day Meditation Experience which was developed by Deepak Chopra and Oprah. It is a beautiful and inspiring journey.

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection


Learn to love yourself

How often have you heard about the significance of being kind and compassionate toward ourselves and how to do it? Everything in your life flows from your relationship to yourself, yet it is one of the most complicated and neglected ones. Learning how to love yourself is key to achieve the general well-being you are working towards. Take this pause to practice self-love, and remind yourself that you are worthy of love, respect, and compassion. When you are being mindful or meditating, embrace who you are. Accept your experiences, whether they are good or bad, and forgive yourself for the mistakes of the past. Treating ourselves with kindness and consideration is the starting point of self-care.

The power of gratitude

Did you know that gratitude is the personal attribute most strongly associated with mental health? Expressing gratitude makes us feel more optimistic in our daily life, and can lead to greater resilience during difficult times. This is because gratitude is a way of focusing on the good things that happen to us. Our days rarely go according to plan or without unexpected challenges. Learning to appreciate the good moments is a powerful tool that allows us to connect positively with the world around us. Think about or write down those moments in your day you are grateful for. It could be a blooming flower, a pleasant conversation with a friend, a good cup of coffee. Taking a minute to enjoy and thank the good things in your life is the best way to improve your mood.

While it may seem like a lot, the idea is to find the tools that will allow you to become a better version of yourself. Just as exercise and balanced meals help us keep a healthy body, working on your emotional and spiritual health is important to achieve general well-being. And all it takes to start is a little pause. Take your time and remember that self-care is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the time you spend alone and use it to recharge your body and your mind with positive energy. Work on the relationship with yourself, appreciate the beauty around you, and feel grateful about the smallest things. When we feel rested and replenished, we can achieve the extraordinary.