Tara Parker Pope reports for the New York Times on the power of self-care. Haenim Sunim, a Buddhist, writes about self-care in his book, Love for Imperfect Things. Self-care recognizes the value of paying attention to your own wellbeing before caring for others.
There’s evidence that self-care can lead to a better quality of life. Self-care includes physical activity, healthy eating and getting enough sleep. It also means mindfulness, meditation, self-compassion and stress management.
Self-care is not easy, especially when your parents, kids, partners and dear friends need your attention. Self-care takes time. And, it’s hard to know how to allocate that time. Haemin Sunim offers five simple steps.
Breathe. Accept. Write. Talk. Walk.
You can begin by breathing deeply. Taking deep breaths can bring calm to your life. It helps ground you. And, it need only take a few minutes each day.
Accept your struggles. Life is not perfect. There are many things we cannot control or change. It will help quiet your mind.
To help you accept life’s struggles, put pen to paper. Write down the things you are struggling with and how you can best move forward. Putting your struggles on paper can help you let go of them and ease your mind. Then, after a good night’s sleep, do something easy that moves you forward. Once that’s done, you can move to more difficult tasks.
Reach out to a close friend who is good at hearing your concerns and let them out. As you talk, you will gain better insight into how to move forward. You will have a better sense of the issues.
And, take a walk. Walking also calms the mind and can alleviate stress. It not only is good for the body, it is good for your mental health. Focus on nature.
The goal is not perfection. That’s not possible. The goal is to find meaning and comfort in the imperfect.
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