People pleasers are often the worst at taking good care of themselves. We spend a great deal of our energy and time making sure everyone else is happy and healthy and our own needs get pushed to the bottom of the pile.
If this sounds like you, then read on to find out what constitutes good self care and how to make space for the things that support you in an already busy life.
What is self care?
Neglecting our own needs can lead to unfulfilling lives and relationships and a shed load of resentment. This is not good for our relationships or for helping us achieve our full potential and accomplish our goals and dreams.
Ultimately, self care is about making space in our lives to be who we are meant to be. Self care can involve bubble baths and scented candles, but equally it can be making a dentist appointment or saying ‘no’ to one more favour. This is where people pleasers often have a hard time. We find it difficult to refuse requests for help and feel obliged to say ‘yes’ to anything anyone asks us to do. This is why people pleasers often end up exhausted, burned out and sick.
Real self care involves
- Accepting ourselves completely – even our flaws.
- Prioritizing our own needs – at least part of the time.
- Making space for our own dreams and goals.
- Designing a life that inspires us – most of the time.
- Talking good care or ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
So, what gets in the way of good self care?
Self care sounds simple, but we all know that it can be a lot more complicated than it seems. Unfortunately, there are many things that get in the way of taking good care of yourself including:
- The expectations of others
- Concerns about what others may think of us
- Fear of being thought selfish
- Guilt and shame about putting ourselves first
- Fear of confrontation when we choose to put our needs first
Taking good care of ourselves can mean making difficult decisions. It can result in upsetting others, facing confrontation and even experiencing rejection. Often, it just seems simpler and easier to avoid all the drama and do what everyone else wants.
Why should we prioritize self care?
However, if we fail to make time for our own needs we gradually become the supporting cast in other people’s lives rather than being the hero of our own. In addition, our relationships can actually suffer. We can be taken for granted and this can lead to a build up of frustration and resentment that is not conducive to warm and loving relationships. And of course, if we become burned out, we do not have the resources to help anyone else anyway! So, if you want to be happy and healthy, have good relationships and achieve your own dreams then you need to start making self care a priority.
What does good self care look like?
Good self care means accepting ourselves even with our flaws. Ultimately, it means forgiving ourselves for our mistakes as we would forgive a good friend who made a mistake. Self care involves setting boundaries and being assertive, and especially learning how to say ‘no’. Fundamentally, self care means treating yourself the way you would treat a good friend. This means talking nicely to yourself and treating yourself with kindness, compassion, forgiveness, support and encouragement.
Of course, a lifetime of taking care of others can make it hard for us to know how to take care of ourselves. It is easy to say ‘be assertive’ or ‘set boundaries’. However, in reality, when faced with people who are desperate or unhappy, and whom we love, then saying ‘no’ could be much, much too hard.
The way round this is to start with tiny acts of self care to build up our self esteem and confidence. Doing this helps us overcome the fear that stops us taking care of ourselves. It also helps us explore what feels good for us. We need to learn what excites us, what calms us, and what makes our lives feel joyful, loving and inspired. I’ve listed a few small self care actions you could try below to jump start your journey to good self care.
20 Self care ideas
- Write down 5 words to describe the way you would like to feel, such as calm, inspired, loving – then do something that makes you feel that way.
- Set aside 15 minutes a day to do something you love, such as reading, singing, dancing, painting or gardening.
- Make an appointment that you have been putting off, such as for the dentist or optician.
- Write down 5 achievements you are proud of.
- Lose yourself for a while in a good book or TV show
- Write down 5 things you like about yourself.
- Put clean sheets on your bed.
- Snuggle up and get warm with a cosy throw, hot water bottle, loved one or pet.
- Make a playlist to help improve your mood – it could be uplifting or calming
- Say no to something, or at least practice ways of saying no such as ‘Oh, I’d love to but I’m afraid I can’t’.
- Take a nap, or create a calming bedtime routine, and start catching up of your sleep deficit.
- Planning can reduce stress and make life run more smoothly making more time for fun and relaxation. You could make a meal plan, sort out your paperwork or get on top of the laundry.
- Take a walk, preferably in nature, to relieve stress and release feel good endorphins.
- Buy something for yourself that has been pushed to the bottom of the list, for example, new bedding, underwear or skincare products.
- Say ‘yes’ to something you would love to do but have never made time for before.
- Write a list of everything that is bothering you to get it all out of your head. You can then start tackling the tasks one at a time.
- Ask someone for help.
- Instead of just saying ‘I’m fine’, find someone you trust who you can talk to about how you really feel. This could be a close friend, a counsellor, doctor or coach.
- Delegate a small task.
- Take time for personal care such as painting your nails, getting a hair cut or just putting on your favourite outfit complete with jewellery. You could, perhaps, have a bubble bath 😉
I hope this post has helped you to understand how important it is for you, and those around you, that you practice good self care. I also hope that you have been inspired by some of the ideas above. I’d love to hear the self care practices that make you feel happy, healthy, joyful and loving – please share them with us in the comments below.