Sometimes, you don’t realize you’ve reached your wit’s end until you’re in the middle of a breakdown. The tears come rushing in and you fall to your knees, overwhelmed. As your emotions and worries overtake you, you may begin to wonder why it took you so long to recognize your own thoughts and feelings. In this case, it’s likely you forgot to care for your soul. After ignoring it for days, weeks or months, it finally forced you to take notice.
Now, you must heal and begin caring for your soul. Doing so on a routine basis will help you avoid break downs and allow you to be more in tune with your spirit. Here are a few ways you can begin to love yourself and replenish your soul.
1. Learn to Say No
One of the very best things you can do for your soul, your schedule and your mental health is learning to say no. That means telling yourself no when you have the urge to engage in harmful activities or treat yourself poorly in general. However, it also entails saying no to others. Even if they’re only asking you out to lunch, if saying yes will overwhelm your schedule and send you into a downward spiral, kindly turn down the offer.
2. Don’t Play the Comparison Game
You’re your own worst critic, but you don’t have to be. Make the decision to speak kind words over yourself today instead of passing judgment. This, of course, is much easier said than done, especially in a world of social media and unrealistic beauty standards. However, it is possible. Give yourself permission to be bad at something, stop comparing yourself to others and grant yourself some grace. Most importantly, remember that no one is perfect, nor will they ever be.
3. Love Yourself
While you’re out there giving yourself grace, learn to love yourself for who you are as well. You don’t have to lose 15 pounds or win an award or receive a raise to finally be worthy of love from yourself. Maybe there are ways you might improve or hope to grow in the future, but there is something to be said about loving yourself at this very moment. Besides, who’s to say you’ll love yourself more after your successes, anyway?
4. Get in Touch With Your Spirit
Even if you don’t believe in god, you can probably agree that everyone has a spiritual side, an inner journey, if you will. Whether it be battling addiction, dealing with trauma or simply working to understand yourself better, you’re on some sort of spiritual journey, yourself. Subsequently, you must also care for your spirit. Practicing mindfulness, praying and meditating are all excellent ways to get in touch with your spirit and figure out how to better care for it.
5. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Even if you’re doing everything you can to care for your soul, your efforts are futile if you still hang around negative people. Friends who like to gossip and even demean and belittle you can sap your mental, emotional and spiritual energy and leave you feeling drained. Ditch those negative Nellies and surround yourself with a positive crowd instead. Find friends who encourage one another and pour into you, especially as you work to care for your soul.
6. Find a Hobby
Spark joy and ignite your soul by finding a new hobby or revisiting an old one. Whether that means playing guitar, cooking or golfing, make sure it’s something you really enjoy doing. Then, set aside time in your day to engage in this activity. At first, you may feel guilty about taking a break from work or turning down invites to bake. However, you’ll soon realize the true value and joy in dedicating time to things you enjoy.
7. Spend Time Outdoors
Taking the time to appreciate nature can also do wonders for your soul. While your body is busy soaking in vitamin D, your brain will enjoy lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression, too. Thus, spending time in the great outdoors can greatly benefit you, especially if you make it part of your daily or weekly self-care routine. Furthermore, using your time outside to engage in more intense exercises like jogging or biking can also refresh you and boost serotonin.
8. Practice Gratitude
Saying thank you might also have similar benefits to spending time outdoors. From minimizing depression to relieving stress and pain, practicing gratitude may help to heal your soul and keep it healthy. Cultivate thankfulness by starting a gratitude journal and write down three things you’re thankful for each day. You might also make an effort to reach out to friends and family and remind them that you’re grateful for their presence in your life.
Make Yourself a Priority
If you’re used to putting others first and taking the back seat, you may find it difficult to emphasize your own needs in the beginning. However, it’s important to remember that self-care isn’t selfish. Rather, in caring for yourself first, you’ll be better able to care for and love others. You can’t pour from an empty cup, right? Starting today, give your soul a little extra attention because you matter, too.