Tuesday, January 19, 2016

3 Steps To Practicing Radical Self-Care

Tough to give what you don't have, practice radical self-care

Radical self-care is critical and should be at the top of your to-do list every day.

What is radical self-care? My definition is the unshakable, nonnegotiable regular care of oneself. This looks different from person to person but ultimately is rooted the belief that in order to love and care for others in our lives, we must, first, love and care for ourselves. Radically.

I already know there are many reading this whose eyes have rolled to the back of their heads and are barely hanging into this third paragraph, but stay with me. Yes, you've heard this before. No, it's not a joke. Many of you already know this but have struggled to implement any form of regular self-care in your life. You cringe in guilt at the very thought or you throw your hands up not believing you can ever find the time to do anything for just you. You can begin a journey to radical self care and there are three critical things you must do to initiate and create space in your life for radical self-care.

Start Small

In order to grow to radical self-care as I defined, you have do baby steps self-care first. It is indeed impossible to dive into "radical anything"  if you don't have the basics first. Add something that you alone enjoy to your calendar each week. It can be a phone date with a friend. Coffee at your favorite cafe alone. 20 minutes of reading time. We all get 10,080 minutes in every week we live, you can carve out 30 of those to yourself starting right away. And don't forget to add it to your calendar and you get bonus points for putting it on a shared calendar. One of the most important ways to keep the commitment is to write it down and make others in your life see it's importance.

Build On Your Start

Once you've gone 6 straight weeks of a small commitment, you must up the stakes in some way. Again, this is entirely up to you but it must a) be more than your initial step at self-care and b) be shared with an accountability partner.  Now, pick your partner wisely. Don't call your flaky sister or flimsy friend who won't remind you or will indulge your excuses for missing your self-care. You need to call the person you don't want to tell because that's precisely who you need to push you. Remember, we all get 365 days in a year, so taking one full day or more per month is not unreasonable. And especially if you are building that day or two onto 30 minutes of weekly self-care. It will not feel like a big leap nor will you feel any guilt. In order to keep the momentum, you have to build on the initial self-care routine which will set you up for what's next.

Go Big

Identify something big you want to do for yourself and do it. This could be an overnight stay alone in a hotel.  Or this could be a weekend trip with your girlfriends or a guys weekend in Atlantic City but it must be big and follow your building stage.  Once you do this once, it will get easier and you will get really good at finding ways to up your self-care game in between big self-care events.  The biggest bonus of going big, is when life throws you big curves, you can combat it with radical rest and respite. Without question, my habitual radical self-care has made my latest valley not seem so deep. I was also able to activate courage to raise my self-care game to the need in my life and I'll be enjoying a weekend away, just me, very soon to fuel me through a tough season.

Taking care of yourself well is not optional, it's imperative.

What will you do today to start your journey to radical self-care?

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