With Americans facing heavy stress from the pandemic and economic, social, and political turmoil, “it’s important to focus on the mental component of self-care,” says Anne Ockene Boudreau, author of the new book, “A Human Mosaic: Heal, Renew, & Develop Self-Worth,”
“Your mental state governs your entire life, and if you are feeling off-kilter, the tendency is to ignore taking care of yourself, rather than step up self-care,” she says.
People can protect their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health by practicing self-reflection as part of self-care routines, Anne says.
“Self-reflection is a process of consciously thinking through and evaluating your thoughts, beliefs, and experiences as a means of learning about yourself. It offers you the opportunity to pause and detach from your busy life, thus permitting you to consider new interpretations of what you have experienced and endured.”
Keys to making self-reflection part of your self-care practice include:
Check in With Yourself.
Make it a habit to “take your temperature,” throughout the day to assess your thoughts and adjust as needed. Pay close attention to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and how they affect you. Do not suppress them. Observe them without judgment and embrace them without reservation. Observing your thoughts rather than suppressing them will enable you to better understand yourself.
Be Mindful of Negative Triggers.
A trigger is a stimulus that evokes a particular thought or emotion from your past. A trigger can derail the best of intentions. It can come in the form of a specific word, song, location, person, season, or cue in the environment that induces a specific feeling within you. Becoming aware of triggers before they ruin your day is a vital component to tuning in to your self.
Practice Stillness and Deep Breathing.
This means breaking away from the noise and chaos of the world and spending 10 to 15 minutes in quiet time. Close your eyes and breath deeply, inhaling and exhaling with robustness. Soon you will start to feel the stress and tension melt away. Do this as often as you feel you need to.
Journal Your Thoughts and Feelings.
Journaling is an important part of self-reflection and awareness. When you write down your thoughts and feelings, you’re taking them out of your brain and putting them on paper. As you come to understand yourself better, you may learn to direct your thoughts and feelings rather than being driven by them. This can help you adapt to changing circumstances with less resistance and stress.
Inspire Yourself through Positive Self-Talk.
Positive self-talk is a powerful tool to flip the script in your brain from negative to positive. Athletes use positive self-talk as a force of inspiration, as do other performers, because it is a valuable self-motivating practice.
- Schedule: Establish a routine and schedule time for self-reflection throughout the day.
- Set Boundaries: Learn to say no and stay true to your personal schedule for self-care.
- Choose practices that are easy to apply and that you know you will use. You can practice self-reflection while walking, exercising, meditating, or in any activity that brings you joy.
“Self-care comes in many forms, from soothing activities such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, silent time, stillness and sleep, to more active pursuits such as exercise and hobbies,” Anne says. “Self-care is paramount right now. Those who respect themselves are more prone to care for themselves.”
About: Anne Ockene Boudreau is an inspirational author, coach, and executive who is devoted to helping others develop healthy self-worth. In her new book, “A Human Mosaic: Heal, Renew, & Develop Self-Worth,” she reveals how self-worth is a critical element for sustainable personal change. For more information visit www.AnneOBoudreau.com.