In our crazy modern world, it’s all to easy to get worn out, burnt out, and pushed to your limit…in more ways than we want to count.
But the good news is, there’s a simple solution:
For most people, when they think of self care, they think of pampering themselves with. a trip to the spa, or trying to find the perfect diet.
But, the best – most effective – self care strategies aren’t just about the physical body, they’re about managing your state of mind.
Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Accept that Even Superheroes Need Rest
The first – and most important – self care tip is also the most basic.
Everyone needs rest.
When we feel dragged down and burnt out, often the number 1 reason is simply because we’re not taking enough time for ourselves.
This rest can take a lot of forms. It might be making sure you get a good night’s sleep, or it might be creating an evening routine that helps you unwind, or even deciding you’re going to commit one day a week to. a 100% “no-screens, no work” policy.
It doesn’t matter how you rest, what matters is that you do it.
Study after study shows that when we push ourselves to the limit, we actually start to see diminishing returns on our efforts. It’s as true in sports as it is in the office – you can only do so much each day, or each week.
The key is learning how to plan your rest time into your schedule, so it becomes a part of the expectation you hold of yourself.
Step 2: Build Your Support Group (No Superhero Goes It Alone)
The next step isn’t even about you, really.
It’s about your team.
We tend to think of superheroes as the ‘lone wolf,’ someone who is so far beyond the ability of everyone else that they don’t need help.
This stereotype persists, despite fact that most superheroes have sidekicks (or sometimes entire teams) supporting them.
- Batman has Robin
- Superman has Lois Lane.
- The X-Men work as a teamn, and
- Even The Avengers not only have each other – they have a massive government agency backing them up.
The point it is: even when it looks like someone stands above the crowd, it’s almost always because they have help and support along the way.
When it comes to managing your own mental health and making sure that you can stay on track to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself, you have to put a lot of thought into cultivating the right team to support you.
This might be a team of people working alongside you, but it also might be the “informal” support network of friends and family who are there to cheer you on and pick you up when you get down, or point out when you’ve pushed to far and need a break.
Step 3: Know that You Can’t Save the World if You’re Stuck Saving Yourself
Lastly, a lot of self care revolves around the expectations you set for yourself.
One of the biggest factors that leads to burnout and feeling out of control actually comes when you consistently beat yourself up about the actions you are (or are not) taking.
This can be very, very subtle, so often we don’t even notice when it’s happening. And that’s why it’s so essential to raise your awareness of your own thoughts, so you can start to catch the subtle negative thoughts when they come.
For example, beating yourself up doesn’t have to be “Oh, I’m incapable.”
A much more insidious version can be something like “I didn’t get enough done today,” or “I could do better.”
Even though on the surface they don’t sound that bad, these thoughts can be really, really destructive over time. In a sense, you could always think that you could do more, or be better, and if you routinely criticize yourself for that you will reinforce a belief that you aren’t good enough.
And that’s a terrible place to be.
Putting It Together and Taking Action
If you struggling to manage your own self care, the path to managing these thoughts is easier than you might think.
In Happiness University, we teach how you can start to use simple tools like stepping back, quieting the mind, and choosing better-feeling thoughts to guarantee that you never push yourself to the brink.
As you learn how to better manage your mind, you’ll find that you will start to find more space to relax, even while you pursue the things your most passionate about.