You always put your fur babies first – how about you do the same for yourself?
Today is the first day of the rest of our life, but what if we lived it as if it was the last? People say, if only I had more time, if only I could do things differently, if only I didn’t have responsibilities. What if we lived today 100 per cent the way we wanted to? It’s a great segue to the world’s most difficult question, ‘What do I want’? If we knew the answer, we would easily pull together a roadmap/plan to get there. When it’s difficult to articulate, it will be impossible to achieve.
If we completed a small challenge or personal trial focusing on ourselves as we care for, say, the family pet, what would happen to our perspective? Would it improve things or would it cause a backward slide? When next caring for your pet, consider the way you treat it. It’s like a baby – all needs taken care of, safety precautions, best food (however expensive), special clothes and we even bag their poop on walks! In return, our pet/s give unconditional love and it makes us feel amazing.
There’s a massive parallel between our pet and ourselves, however we do often treat our pets better than ourselves. What would happen if we put the same standard of care into ourselves? Yes, this would be sensational, considering we must take care of us first to enable us to care for others. The key to amazing pet care is food, company, health, wellbeing. The formula is the same for us!
Tips to support unconditional self-care
Treat yourself: However this represents itself to you: little rewards for achieving something, healthy chocolate, coffee with friends, solo walks, yoga sessions or massages. Pleasurable treats offer a hit of dopamine, encouraging and uplifting us.
Sleep, reduce stress: An important part of stress management is self-care. Getting enough sleep is key – it reduces stress levels. Stress is devastating, mentally and physically. “It can prompt sleep disorders, increase the risk of hypertension, compromise our immune systems, and increase the risk of cardiac and inflammatory disease. Approximately three-fourths of the human population undergoes some level of stress within each two-week period, making it a prevalent factor in most people’s lives.” (Campbell, Goalcast, 2016)
Move the body: We walk the dog – it becomes happy. Do the same for you. Walk/run/stretch so we don’t become physically/mentally unable. Consider cardio for your heart and overall energy. It’s also out of the house/office and away from computers.
Take breaks: As adults, bosses, workers, mums, dads, owners etc, we generally love short breaks to be alone or with those we love. Scientifically, taking breaks is better for overall focus and productivity and keeping attention through a full work day.
Eat well and healthy: We love feeding our pets the best available. We also love to indulge. Choosing to balance eating healthy with rewarding treats is okay but remember, we are what we eat. Just as we balance our pets’ diet, ours is equally important.
At the end of the day, with enough self-worth, compassion and self-love we know we are enough. We are the drivers of our life and we can make new choices to create all we want. Run free like the dogs in the dog park, have fun like a kitten chasing a pompom. Let our spirit fly freely with the galloping horse on an empty beach. Put yourself top of your list and feel the shift.
“Dance like nobody’s watching. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening. Live like it’s heaven on earth.” – Mark Twain