Self care for people who aren’t great at self care

It’s spring! And everyone is sick. In your office. On public transportation. On the street. Germs are everywhere. You might be sick right now, reading this. When you don’t have your health, it’s incredibly hard to achieve your goals, be productive, or get out of bed in the morning.

Even when we’re sick, a lot of us continue to push ourselves. But if you think you don’t have time for your mental and physical health, you need to get rid of something else. It is the most important thing. You cannot reach your fullest potential if you’re not at 100%.

Like any practice, it takes consciousness to achieve. How many times are you thirsty or have to pee but instead you read one more email, or organize one more drawer, or make one more call before you simply take care of yourself? I’m literally looking at the post-it on my desk that says, “DRINK WATER & PEE” right now. I’ll neglect these little things in the interest of productivity. But if you’re only running on steam, your work and creativity will suffer for it.

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A stroll in the fresh air through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of my favorite ways to clear my head and get my blood pumping. Especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom!

No money? No problem. I mean, it’s not entirely true. More money – not to mention more affordable care – would make things a lot easier. But there are free or inexpensive resources out there to help you, if you look. Plenty of cities and states even have free mental health services. NYC has a call, chat, and even text option. I haven’t tried it out yet, but it’s a resource on my list should I ever need it. Looking for a way to meditate? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of recordings on Youtube. Yoga? Yoga to the People has free sessions you can download on their site. Head to your local library and check out books for free or just walk outside.

If you’re going to do it, do it right. Take care of yourself, but don’t let self-care be a substitute for action and responsibility. For example, losing your job can be incredibly stressful. But “self-care” of binging The Gilmore Girls on Netflix eight hours a day for a week is not going to get you back on your feet. Make finding a job your full-time job, but eat healthy, take walks outside, read, get drinks with friends, pet cats, etc.

Make your valuable time count for self-care, just like you should for everything else. Don’t drop the ball on doing things that actually refresh and rejuvenate you. If you’re not at 100%, none of your work will be either.

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