I never really learned how to take care of myself. Okay fine. Brush teeth twice a day, shower here and there, wash my hair. I learned how to put mascara on, paint my nails, and shave my legs.
But I never learned how to take GOOD care of myself, how to treat myself right, how to put myself first, how to prioritize and appreciate my health, or how to love my body.
As a grown ass woman who’s learning how to do that now - it’s hard. It’s hard to make doctor's appointments when I get weird twinges in my feet or neck. It’s hard to meditate when I have so much work to do. It’s hard to balance responsibility with rest. It’s hard to prioritize myself when there is so much else to do!
It's hard - but I've learned the hard way that it’s always necessary. Because when we don’t take care of ourselves, we end up in extreme situations, like the hospital, amidst deep heartbreak, or heading straight for burn out.
What I realized is that it’s all about the baby steps. Here, I break it down into the seven tiniest and easiest ways to take care of myself - which make for a better me - and may help you become better at caring for yourself too.
1. Morning ritual + routine
It all starts when I first wake up. Deep breathe in and out, moment of gratitude for another day of sunshine and life – eyes flutter open. Stretch out and starfish the bed. Grab journal. (Not phone.) Free flow one page of thought; whatever it may be. Feet hit the ground – thanks for the never-ending support. Chug water. Take pill. Pee. Another 10-minute stretch. A 10-minute meditation. And my day begins.
The way we start our day is so crucial. Connect with yourself, focus on your intention, find your ground and feel your gratitude. It’s the perfect morning recipe to revive yourself from a deep night’s sleep – and then of course, coffee.
2. Alone time
I love being around people, most of the time. I love helping people, most of the time. But sometimes, I need silence, I need to be unavailable, free from company, free to nestle deeply into myself, to settle my thoughts, no shirt, no shoes, no phones, no service.
I consider myself a super social outgoing person – but that still means I’m allowed to claim time for myself. In fact, it’s the only way I remain a super social outgoing person. If I find myself always on the go go go, I know I need to start saying no no no – and taking time just for me me me. It helps me stay centered and focused on whatever I need, instead of getting caught up the crowd, like I’ve done for so many years in the past.
3. Little things
I’m thankful for the sunshine ray that streams in through my window. I’m thankful for the birds chirping, for my hands which write, for my beating heart. I’m thankful for my throat and the way she helps me share my voice, the way she helps me swallow and stay hydrated, and the way she alerts me when I feel deep anger, pain, or frustration. That's what I'm feeling right now - but with each moment, there is always something to be grateful for.
Gratitude is necessary with every breathe. It’s when we focus in on the super specific small things that life becomes much greater. With appreciation of the simple things, life simply becomes more simple.
Great happiness tip? Focus on gratitude by taking a gratitude walk - taking time to zone into all your surrounding and focus on finding where your gratitude lies - whether in your feet or the flowers you spot on the way. You can also write down your gratitude for little things. It’s proven to make you happier and boost your brain in thinking happier too.
4. Body love
I moved around for 6 years in need of a home. I felt lost AF, like I was wandering the desert for 40 years in search of a place to call home, kicked out from the crazy place I had been and ready to journey for as long as it took to just find my own space - like a true wandering Jew. I felt SO focused on finding four walls that brought me comfort that I forgot to take care of my true home – my body. It wasn’t until I couldn’t pick myself up from my bed to search for a new home that I realized just how lucky I had been to have a vibrant, healthy body.
I had chosen to see realtors over doctors - and it was a huge no no. I had taken my body for granted. She was the only home I had needed. I spent two weeks trapped in bed unable to escape - and my badass bod sure taught me who’s boss - and what matters in life.
As humans, we aren’t taught to prioritize our health until something happens, or until it’s too late. If we learn how to treat our bodies properly from the get go, we won’t spend so much of life risking and breaking her down. Instead we will love her for the home she provides for us – every waking moment of every day.
What does that mean? When you feel a twinge, a pain, or something abnormal, go check it out. Do not wait for the extreme to happen: pick up the phone and make an appointment. Go to the doctor. Then go see another doctor if the first one was an asshole. Or take whatever the next step is you need to care for yourself. If your ankle is twisted, don’t try to be a heroine and dance your way out. Sit the eff down on the couch and allow yourself healing time. Listen to your body, love her, and care for her like you would your dream home.
“GRRRRR, Zo why are you such an asshole?” “Stop being such an idiot.” “You are unbelievably dumb.”
These are just a few thoughts that roll through my mind at any given time, when I believe I’ve made a stupid mistake, said something dumb, or have just lost patience with myself.
But hey, I’m a fucking human, and mistakes happen. This is the first time I’ve been here, in this very moment, and I should cut myself a break and not be so hard on myself. I’m only human. If I don’t have patience with myself, how will I ever have patience with anyone else?
How we speak to ourselves matters. The words that twirl through our minds become our beliefs and behaviors. They also become how we allow others to speak to us, and treat us. It’s crucial that we become our own best friends - and treat ourselves with respect. Be patient with yourself, darling. You deserve every kindness.
Practically? This is a great time to call on your support system, to help you see what you might be missing. We typically have much more patience with others. If you need a reminder, call someone from your crew and simply ask for a pick me up.
6. Getting real with your beliefs
“So, you believe that you need to work hard and suffer to make money?”
“You believe that you can’t make money and do good things for the world?
“Mmm, I guess so.”
Dum dum dum. It wasn’t until my life coach and I specifically discussed my relationship with money and how quitting my full-time, soul-destroying job was related. It wasn’t until she questioned the way I grew up, what I believed about money, my parents relationship with money, and therefore MY relationship with money – and what my patterns were – until she asked me WHY? That I began to explore why I do what I do – and that I could choose to change my perspective and shift my beliefs to redefine what it is I believed was the way I wanted to live my life.
So, I did. It was a process and it’s still a process. But now at every turn, I question myself – why? Why do I do this? Why do I feel this way? Why do I behave like this? And does this suit the way I want to live my life? Does this align with who I want to be?
Go on, DIY. Think about something that’s bothering you in life. Think about the story you tell yourself. Think about WHY you might be telling yourself that story. Choose to change it.
7. An active attitude
I knew I wanted to start my own business. I had made a million lists about it. A thousand notes of a bajillion ideas. My dreams were big, my goals were deep and my to-do lists were never-ending. I wanted to spread sunshine and rainbows across the whole wide world. I imagined sliding down rainbows into pots of yellow gold filled with sunshine and cash in my unicorn onesie. I would glitter the world with delicious doses of love and shine, hear ye, hear ye. I had created an 18 page document about how I would scatter my sensationalism across the world and into my own one-of-a-kind business.
I talked about it a lot. Until I realized – talk is cheap, my darling. As women, our to-do lists are endless. We should be doing so much for ourselves, which will support our work in the world. However, talking and doing are two very different things. It’s not until we choose to be proactive and take inspired action that anything will change. I started doing. And while I’m still working on sliding down those rainbows into pots of gold, I’m much closer than I was 3 years ago.
It takes 21 days to create a new habit. It takes 66 days to physiologically rewire that habit into our brain. We must consistently and actively choose to take action to better our health, our happiness and live more fulfilled lives. You can read as many articles as you want, watch as many videos as you want. But until you choose to ACT in the moment – nothing is ever going to change.
In closing, it’s called self-care for a reason. It’s nice to have others to support us, but at the end of the day, when we check in with our own needs first, we get to know what we need to best care for ourselves, our bodies, our minds, and our beautiful, beating hearts.
If you want help to get inspired into action, try our TREAT YOSELF ADVENTURE. It helped me help myself and begin to take the baby steps I needed to take better care of myself. Maybe it will be just what you need to help you too.