By Dr. Ashley D. Anderson
Women truly are superheroes! Yes, that means that each and every woman reading this is indeed a superwoman! From holding down our families, to personal business endeavors and everything in between...women truly do run the world. But, sis, sometimes you have to take off your cape. Even though you’re running the world, you have to make time to save yourself! Here are Seven Self-Care Tips to help ensure you’re not trying to pour from an empty cup.
Give Yourself Grace
This has been my motto for 2021. You are human! You have to allow yourself to make mistakes, to not get things done on your original time table, to leave that mess in the kitchen or in the kids’ room so that you can get some extra sleep, or just relax. It’s OK! I’ve started asking myself this question: ”What is the worst thing that could happen if I don’t get this done right now?” If the answer is not something tragic or life altering, it can wait! A big part of what wears women down is our set of expectations. I’m all for setting and achieving goals, but you’ve got to make room for being human. Don’t beat yourself up; practice grace!
Schedule Time for You
I live by schedules! Schedule everything- workouts, self-care time, time to read and reflect, time to work. If you don’t put it on a schedule like you would a meeting for work, your partner, or your business, you’ll be more likely to skip it. Unfortunately, we don’t prioritize ourselves like we do others, therefore we have to be strategic. Especially during quarantine, try getting up at the same time every day. Ensure you are eating every 2-3 hours while awake. Schedule some time to get work done or complete your chores around the house and schedule time to rest. During this uncertain time, the predictability of a schedule can help you focus and hold yourself accountable. I challenge you to look at your schedule from yesterday and ask yourself what you did to move toward YOUR goals. What did you do to take care of YOU?
Ask for Help
Every superhero has a sidekick! We are not wired to do everything on our own. It may be against your nature to depend on others to get things done, but sis, you have to delegate. Prioritize your time and complete the tasks that only you can complete. Outsource everything else. Whether it is cleaning, laundry, or scheduling social media for your business, call for help. This will free up some of your time and decrease your stress levels tremendously.
You can't be everything to everybody and then still have anything left to give to the people who mean the most to you. It’s time we are more protective of our time. It’s noble to want to support every cause, but it’s not realistic or sustainable. If it's not getting you closer to your goal, if it's not profitable and if it's not building or sustaining your network, say no. I promise, you will thank yourself later!
Get up and get moving! This has been the hardest thing to do especially during a quarantine. On days when the weather is beautiful, take a walk or jog around the neighborhood or at a nearby park: social distancing of course! On other days, find a live streamed class or download an app like Nike Training Club. While it may be hard to get started, research has shown that regular exercise has a positive impact on neurotransmitters that affect our mental health including serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and endorphins. I recommend 45 minutes of vigorous exercise at least 4 times per week.
Put your phone down
Taking a break from the screen will help you bring balance to your digital and real-world lives. While it’s easy to scroll mindlessly on social media, I challenge you not to. It's more important to be present. My challenge for you is to truly experience each moment-each breath, each vision, each interaction, each smell. These specific moments will never return, and will soon be nothing more than a memory. Be present to experience the beauty in your life. Be present to experience peace and true joy...put the phone down!
Make time for estrogen fixes!
Last but certainly not least, make time for your girlfriends! Research shows that when women allow themselves the time to nurture and to engage with their female friends, they are less stressed and expressed feeling happier. There’s nothing like the sisterhood! Schedule time to take off the hats of wife, mom, partner, boss, sister, etc. and just be YOU for a while. Trust me, it’ll do wonders for your spirit.
I’ve spent the last twelve years of my career caring for women. The majority of them are filled with stress, lacking satisfaction and are just plain exhausted. I ask them all one question: ”What are you doing for yourself?” Typically, the tears start to flow and the realization sets in that they have not been taking care of themselves. Take a moment today to ask yourself that question, and if you do not have a list of things you’ve been doing for YOU, it’s time to get to work. Sis, take off your cape!