The Year of Self-Care

Do you ever feel like you’d like to make more of an impact and a bigger difference, but you’re just too exhausted?

Without energy and vitality it’s hard to really be there full out for others. Quality self-care is the key to giving wholeheartedly to others.

You’re busy and taking good self-care of yourself can be a challenge. Problem is, if you don’t, it’s a matter of time before the mental fog and weariness sets in.

So often we continue to operate in this compromised state of mind and body, not necessarily realizing that exhaustion deadens our energy and relationships.

The truth is there is time, even with the busiest of schedules. Most world leaders, CEOs and uber accomplished people build the time into their calendars and treat it as importantly as any other meeting. And the time spent caring for ourselves gives us the vitality that supports us in leading the rest of our lives magnificently.

Investing small pockets of time every day can make a significant difference that elevates our energy, productivity and experience of joy. 

What do you need to do for better self care? 

Maybe it’s a brisk walk in the morning air, connecting with a friend, a daily meditation practice, a workout in the gym, making time to do what you love, etc. It’s not about binge activities, workouts and vacations.

It’s the daily practices or rituals that bring ongoing self-nurture and self-love. The more frequently we can accrue moments of self-care, the happier, healthier and more loving we become.

Rather than focusing on the stuff you can do for better self care—which you already know, it’s all about implementation. This means deciding not to wait for the wake up call that gets you to do whatever you know you need and long to do.

I thought it would be instructive to talk about some ways of being in the world by talking about Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. I’ve discussed this book before, but it seemed relevant to highlight the four essential keys of these agreements, as they all relate to self-care—from a “being” not “doing” vantage point.

The Four Agreements

We make agreements with ourselves all of the time—especially around the New Year. I’m going to stop eating sugar. I’m going to eat more vegetables. I’m going to exercise. I’m going to stop putting others down and so on.

Most agreements with ourselves are about improving ourselves and our relationships. We want to create our best possible lives yet sometimes we get in the way of our best intentions.

By the way the research repeatedly shows that will power never works over the long haul.

It’s a matter of creating a context from which we live—setting the tone for wanting to care for ourselves and everyone and everything in our lives. Because we matter and our loved ones matter.

According to Ruiz, The Four Agreements represents a code for life and a path to personal transformation.

Whether or not these agreements lead to transformation, you will clearly benefit from adhering to these principles on the physical, psychological and spiritual levels.

They will also support you in taking a more significant leadership role in your own life. So, here they are in abbreviated format:

The Four Agreements

1. Be impeccable with your word. 

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to harshly or negatively especially against yourself. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Do not take anything personally.

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. It is their own personal interpretation or world view and has absolutely nothing to do with you. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you will no longer be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Do not make assumptions. 

Summon the courage to ask questions and to clearly express what you really want. Communicate with others with clarity helps to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. Ruiz believes that with this one agreement, you can transform your life.

4. Always do your best. 

Your best changes from one moment to the next. You will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick, when you are happy as opposed to sad. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Self-care is at the root of each one of these agreements. We are caring for ourselves from the inside out and this creates the space for greater self-love.

When we feel good about ourselves we feel worthy of doing those practices that help us sustain a regular commitment to self-care.

While no one remains faithful to these agreements all the time, they offer an important construct from which to operate.

Notice what happens in your life when you go a day adhering to these principles.

Keep in mind that most unhappiness comes from a rupture in our ability to communicate with others. This rupture usually emanates from the way we feel about ourselves. Self-care and our relationships are inextricably woven together and in the end are profoundly important to our well-being.

When we care for ourselves, we are caring for the people in our lives and the greater good of all.

When you stray from the agreements, have compassion for yourself. Just bring your awareness back on the path.

In fact, why not make the agreement with yourself that 2017 will be your year to take better care of yourself?

The spark is already within you. All you need to do is ignite that fire!

As always I’d love to hear about your observations and get your feedback about your discoveries.

Happy self-care!

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