Work smarter, not harder…
It’s what I always aim for, but it can be so hard to achieve. Being more productive comes from balancing life, but I spend a lot of time focusing on my goals, that sometimes taking time out becomes just another thing to tick of my to-do list. Self love means different things to different people, and articles on the subject express self love as living the perfect life. But I feel it’s something else entirely, self love is being comfortable in your own skin and to do that you first need to define who you are, and who you want to be. I find it difficult to focus on myself when I get caught up in the daily grind, so I put together a list of tips to help you make space for a little self love.
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1. Know your limits.
I feel the first step in achieving some self love is understanding your boundaries and knowing when to protect yourself by letting go of unnecessary and unhelpful situations, commitments and people. This is important not just for keeping your energy levels up, but also for living consistently. I struggle with this because I often push myself in various ways - staying up late, not eating when I should, taking on too much and not saying no as often as I should. This results in periods of time when I am very inspired, and then periods of time when I get deflated and struggle to achieve daily goals. I find that being mindful and paying attention to the choices I am making, helps me to set limits for myself. Taking time once a day to assess how you’re feeling, and what state you’re in is a great place to start. This helps me to be more productive by taking little amounts of time out, and preventing burnout.
2. Reward Yourself
Motivating myself to balance my life with a little rest and relaxation, only happens when I give myself rewards I care about. For some people rewards include facials and massages at a Day Spa, or getting their nails done. But for me, it can be doing nothing at all. Sleeping in, watching my favourite show, movie or seemingly menial tasks like organising things, mundane chores, can be what I need to relax my mind. When it comes to rewarding myself, playing around with new ideas, new creative projects, going out with friends, and shopping are some of my favourite activities that I use to motivate myself into action [and inaction] when necessary!
I think it’s also important to note that sometimes you have to reward yourself first, before you can get motivated to take action. When I get myself into a really dark headspace the thought of working toward anything is too difficult. If you get stuck in the same dilemma, try dressing up, getting out of your usual routine and changing your environment. It sounds strange, but when you look good it can also help you feel good. A change in scenery also helps to reset my mind, and gives me a new perspective on life.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
Part of being aware lies in being honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. What your emotional, mental and physical state really is, and what you need. It took me some time to view self love as a productive activity, and for it no longer feel like I was “wasting time”. For me, it took a busy summer season of clients, and overbooking myself resulting in a hand injury from editing that changed my outlook. I realised I am more efficient by balancing my workload and time that I am ‘on the field’ playing the game of life, and time spent training for it. Self care, is part of that training. Whether for life, to fill your bucket to care for friends, or to reach your goals in work and life. Self love is part of that preparation, and when I spend time doing things I enjoy not for any particular purpose but to recharge, I am equipping myself with the emotional, mental and physical resources to live the life I want.
4. Schedule Time
I find that if I don’t make the time to take time out… then it never ends up happening. Making self love a habit, a part of your daily routine makes it easier to get more comfortable with the idea of enjoying time to recharge. Make a time, preferably the same time each day to do something enjoyable or relaxing. Both if you can! If you struggle with guilt sometimes like I do, in taking time for yourself tell someone you know about your plans to help keep you accountable and keep you mindful of your plan.
5. Balance Needs vs. Wants
I have read articles on the subject of self love that proclaim the essence lies in denying yourself of what you want to focus instead on what you truly “need”. Although I agree that the two can often be at odds, a life lived by what we need isn’t very fulfilling. Part of the joy of living lies in the moment, and being spontaneous. Experiencing freedom is essential to happiness, creativity, and I believe it’s also at the core of self love. Permitting yourself to really choose, and choose freely enables us to make choices because we want to, not because we feel we have to. Only then will self love be another expression of joy.
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