Who decided to shame being selfish?
In 2022, the MUTHA™ new year’s resolution is to challenge that shameful narrative, and break down the stigma surrounding self care. After all, self care is just code for what we really want — and the first step to getting what we really want is giving ourselves permission to commit #SELFISHACTS.
Here are some ways you can promote your mental and physical well-being in the new year (and beyond), along with insights into how MUTHA™ Founder and CEO Hope Smith practices what her brand preaches about being unapologetically selfish.
Break the Uncaring Routine
If you’ve ever looked at your overscheduled calendar and let out an audible “ugggghhhhh,” then this one’s for you.
The best way to care for yourself is to make time to do it. Whether that means canceling an early morning meeting or rescheduling an appointment, make a conscious effort to carve out time to spend with just you.
“Habitual behavior, by nature, can cut us off from feeling,” says Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., for Psychology Today. “A particular routine may make us feel more secure or unchallenged, muting some of our fears around uncertainty. However, it may also be closing us off to our sense of awe, curiosity, or excitement.”
Sometimes breaking a routine isn’t quite as easy as being encouraged to do it, so here a few tips from a Huffington Post blog:
- Make a list of your daily routines — Write down the different activities you typically do from sunup to sun down.
- Try a little wishful thinking — From your list of routines pick a couple that you wish you could stop doing or put on hold.
- Start with small changes — Big mental change can come in short “me time” activities. Take a longer shower, crush your morning workout, or just shut out the noise and enjoy your coffee (something Hope tries to do everyday!)
- Go big or go home — After making some minor adjustments, go for it all. Cancel a few meetings, have your partner pick up the kids, and treat yourself to a day without routines to focus on just you!
Rest & Revive
Being productive is important, but too much Go Go Go can be overrated (kind-of). Down time can be important, too. Sometimes the best way to ensure you’re putting forward the best version of yourself, is to take your foot off the proverbial gas pedal, and get some meaningful sleep.
Rest is something most of us are consistent at not consistently getting enough of. The CDC tells us that not getting enough sleep can be the root cause of a slew of physical and mental health issues, and that even one night of too little rest can make a difference.
“Even one night of short sleep can affect you the next day,” says the CDC. “Not only are you more likely to feel sleepy, you’re more likely to be in a bad mood, [and] be less productive at work.”
Going to bed an hour earlier, or allowing yourself to hit snooze a few times can go a long way to improving your day. Those aren’t the only changes you can make though, the Mayo Clinic offers up some additional sleep tips:
- Create a schedule — To get the recommended amount of sleep for adults, which is seven hours, try going to bed and waking up everyday at the same time. Major changes to your bedtime can mean you’re out of sync.
- Pass on the late-night snack — Try to avoid eating a few hours before going to bed.
- Skip the nap — Napping, especially later in the day, can throw off your sleep schedule.
- Up your daily physical activity — Working out, walking, or any kind of physical activity will promote better sleep. (Just not right before bedtime!)
Are you supporting yourself with self-validation? According to psychotherapist Sharon Martin, self-validation includes:
- Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses
- Complimenting and encouraging yourself
- Understanding your feelings
Positive mental health and realizing your self-worth starts with a positive self image, and it’s a part of day-to-day life that often gets overlooked. Improving your self image can be as simple as giving yourself credit for putting together a great dinner, or leading a productive meeting.
For anyone struggling to self-validate, Martin recommends trying to treat yourself like one of your best friends, and imagine what you would say to that person if they had a major accomplishment, or conversely were struggling with a difficult emotion.
Martin also encourages practicing self-validating techniques you can incorporate into your healthy routine.
“Self-validation also includes activities,” says Martin. “Such as journaling your feelings, noticing your accomplishments and writing them down, resting when you’re tired or eating when you’re hungry, giving yourself a treat — not because you earned it, but because you care about yourself.”
Strike the RSVP
Maybe you told your co-workers you’d meet them for drinks but aren’t feeling up to it now, or told friends you’d meet them out on the weekend but just want to stay in. Don’t feel like you owe it to them, cancel! And create time to do what YOU want.
Whether it’s spending time with a person you love, family, or just wrapping up in a blanket and watching some Netflix, how you spend your time should be your decision.
Wanting to cancel plans is easy, but actually following through on doing so isn’t always so straightforward. We won’t lie — it can be plain awkward to call or text someone and tell them you won’t make it, but sometimes it’s necessary.
If you find it difficult to cancel, try out some of these tips from Well and Good:
- Call instead of texting — The other person being able to hear your voice will allow them to feel your tone and better understand the sincerity of why you’re canceling.
- Don’t be afraid to say sorry — Before getting into why you have to cancel let the other person know you’re sorry.
- Avoid making up an excuse — Lying about why you’re canceling can put you in an even more awkward position, if you don’t have a reason just leave it at “I can’t make it.”
A Few of Hope’s #SELFISHACTS
Hope’s no stranger to acting Self-ISH. In fact she has a few things she loves to incorporate into her days to care for herself and break up her business and family responsibilities. The might include acts of self-ISH-ness as simple as:
- Taking a bath
- Extending her skin care routine
- Blowing out her curly hair
- Calling friends that she hasn’t spoken to in a while