We live in a society where workaholism is praised. Often, the media, our parents, our teachers and our bosses are sending the same message: work harder and you will meet your goals. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I must admit, I do buy into the idea that if I work harder I will get what I want. The truth is hard work doesn’t always pay off. Like most people, I get burned out. In addition to burn out, many can experience anxiety, “imposter syndrome”, and even paralyzing self-doubt when things don’t work out.
Even our children are taught to push themselves in order to be “the best”. One byproduct of this cultural norm is a society where an alarming percentage of young children are experiencing anxiety. This begs the question: What kind of example are we setting as adults? We work long hours, eat food “products” (that aren’t even real food), treat sleep like it is optional, are overscheduled and as a result feel undervalued. But feeling undervalued can start with your own mindset.
DO YOU VALUE YOURSELF?
Do you value yourself whether or not you get that promotion or get asked on a second date? Do you value yourself even though you skipped the gym today?
Are you giving yourself a break? Are you treating your body like the gift that it is?
The purpose of these questions is not to make you feel like you are failing but rather, to bring the idea of self-care back into your awareness.
Cut yourself some slack. The truth is that your “best” can look different from day to day. Recognize that you are going to have some days when you can give more than others. When you find yourself feeling irritable, sluggish or fatigued- it might be time to give yourself a break. Remember you wouldn’t be human if you felt the same way every minute of every day.
Below are 6 ways you can treat yourself with more kindness
- Get outside. Notice all the details. See all that is alive among the trees and wildlife. Nature has a healing effect on people. Experiencing something bigger than yourself can highlight the fact that there is more to life than what you are feeling at this moment.
- Treat yo self. Seriously, buy yourself a treat and savor it. Consume it mindfully. Whether it is a frappuccino from Starbucks, some chocolate or a freshly squeezed juice. And please don’t count the calories.
- Give your pet or kid a snuggle or ask for a hug from a friend. Human touch releases oxytocin, a bonding hormone. Studies show that oxytocin can help ease physical pain and emotional stress.
- Notice your mistakes and EMBRACE them. Mistakes help us learn and remind us that we are human. Rather than beating yourself up every time you make an error, think in terms of a growth mindset. Try this thought on for size: If things stay status quo, I stay the same. If there is change, there is opportunity me to grow and get stronger.
- Allow yourself to unplug. Once upon a time, we lived in a world where cell phones did not exist. What would it be like if you weren’t readily available for everyone else? Being “on call” can feed anxious thoughts. The world will keep spinning even if you don’t respond to that text. What if you allowed things around you to happen without you interfering or constantly knowing what is going on in everyone else’s life? While social media has it’s benefits, it also feeds the tendency to compare your life to someone else’s. Remember what you see online is an edited, filtered avatar. No one’s life is perfect.
- Finally, applaud yourself for small victories. Did you schedule a Dr.’s appointment? Walk the dog? Pick up groceries for the week? Take the stairs? Go you! Celebrating these accomplishments can shift your mindset to a more positive one.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown