Have you ever brought to mind someone you love and thought, “They could really use some more time for themselves”. This practical and thoughtful approach to solving other people’s problems seems well-intended enough. But what we wish for others isn’t very effective in terms of creating a realistic change (after-all it’s just a wish).
However, there is something we can do: work on our own wellness instead! When we commit to self-care habits that nourish us, this can also be very inspiring for those around us too. The way it works is by being the example of what you want to create; or, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. When people see someone close to them happy and healthy, it starts to spread, like a spark, and has the capacity to ignite a powerful and brilliant fire.
Making the most of having people who care nearby (for example: your parents, children, roommate, etc) requires skill and grace… yet may become more approachable asking a simple question, like “Would you like to take a walk with me on the track a few times a week?” Letting this person know that it would really help you to reach your goals if you had a buddy like them to do it with will makes them feel important to the development of your self-care goal(s) and will be motivating for both parties. Of course, if they say no, that’s fine too… no pressure, let that be okay as well.
There are other places to turn to when your family may not be available to support your self-care goals. Perhaps you live alone or with someone who you are caring for full-time. It may be unrealistic to then seek support where there isn’t any available. In such a case, you may want to ask a friend or neighbor to be your jogging buddy or do a mindfulness challenge together. Perhaps just joining a virtual group of like minded people is enough to uplift your spirits and remind you that you are not alone. Everyone experiences feelings like yours sometimes and could use an extra boost of confidence in getting from point A to point B. Again, reaching out to a professional is a great idea. Or, maybe even approach someone who is a couple steps ahead of you on your journey.
For example, asking another Mom how she manages to stay grounded amidst the responsibilities of parenting, managing a household and working could provide you with insight that gives you a fresh perspective. You may find out that she spends one hour a week on a ladies-night-in call with her friends, where they can connect and relate about life and family. Having a strong, social support structure is very helpful and is an act of self-care all its own. In fact, according to a Frontline study called ‘Living Old’ one of the greatest factors of longevity is maintaining active and healthy social lives.
Of course, if your current social structure is not serving you enough of the clear, fresh water you need to grow and thrive, try a new well. There may be a stranger somewhere wanting to achieve a similar wellness goal as yours and could benefit from your unique perspective and way of offering support. An accountability partner is someone who can offer coaching and inspiration when you need it most. You may be able to find one through a group of mutual interest or an online club. Ask what you can help them with and let them know what they can support you with in return. Then, you can check in with one another regularly and move forward with the gas to fuel one another’s goals and desires. And if it doesn’t work out the first time, graciously say thanks anyway, find a new partner and try, try again!
Self Care Journaling Exercise or Rumination: Take action to involve others in your self care ritual. Write down a specific activity that you’d like to try. When would be a good time of day to engage in your self care routine? What people can help to support you in your mission to be healthy and happy? What ways can you involve others (whether it’s partnering up, or asking for help at home so you can make the time you need for self replenishment)?