“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
> First, fix yourself a drink.
A nice cup of tea or coffee. A cool refreshing glass of fruit juice. A good whiskey or wine. Whatever beverage you think you’d most like right now.
And sit down somewhere quiet and enjoy it.
Put your phone to one side. Don’t check your work email. Don’t listen to the news. Don’t think about your To Do list. Don’t read anything that isn’t purely recreational.
Take 10, 15, 20 minutes just to switch off by yourself and relax.
> Next, give yourself a break
Cut yourself some slack.
Forgive yourself for all the things that you haven’t done perfectly today, for the things that you haven’t gotten to yet, for the things that you’ve missed or forgotten.
Take satisfaction in the things that you’ve achieved today; the progress you’ve made, the things that went well, the help that you’ve given to other people.
Imagine that you’re your own coach or mentor. You wouldn’t second guess, beat up on, or micro-manage anyone else and expect to get the best out of them, it’s not going to work any better on yourself.
Remember to give yourself positive encouragement. Congratulate yourself on your successes.
If you notice mistakes or areas for improvement, acknowledge them, fix them, and move on. Dwelling on things won’t do anything for your confidence, your relationships, or your productivity.
> Recognise that you don’t have to be perfect
Not by your own standards. Certainly not by anyone else’s.
Take a look around you, is anyone else perfect at everything? Of course not, they’re just regular old humans; going about their lives being, for the most part, the best humans that they know how to be.
That’s the best anyone can really do. Learn to be okay with it.
Understand that good people can make bad decisions. Recognise that you are more than your current situation or the last mistake that you made. You are the sum of all the things you have ever done, of all your previous intentions and all your future plans, and of all the people you’ve ever loved and ever been loved by. On balance you’re probably doing okay.
> Prepare one of your favourite meals
Or if you hate to cook order from your favourite takeaway, or head to your favourite pub/restaurant/diner for dinner.
Everything seems better after a good meal.
And eating well is an important part of self-care – hunger saps our energy to deal with stress, work, depression, illness, life in general – so you can do this one guilt free.
> Find an outlet
Everybody needs a way to unwind. Find something – a place, an activity, a piece of music, anything – that allows you to switch off from everything.
It may be through something peaceful like meditation, it could be releasing your pent-up frustrations by working up a sweat in the gym. It could be a happy place, a new intellectual challenge, or a mindless TV show. It might be a playlist or picture that evokes positive memories.
It can be a solitary activity or something you do with your partner, family, friends, or even a group of strangers.
Just make sure that you make space to recharge your batteries in whatever way you need.
All work and no play…leads to burnout. Fast.
> Take a long hot shower
There’s something about feeling all clean and refreshed that just somehow seems to make you feel that little bit more human and everything else that little bit more bearable.
> Get a good night’s sleep
It can be difficult when you’re feeling stressed out, depressed, or under the weather but it’s important to make sure that you get as much decent sleep as you can.
Tiredness makes your brain sluggish, which makes situations and problems seem worse than they really are and solutions harder to consider. You’ll also be less productive when you’re tired and less able to adapt to unexpected interruptions to your schedule or routine.
Sleep is important for wellness.
Fresh sheets are always nice.
> Arrange something to look forward to
It could be something big like a road trip or a holiday, or small like a coffee date with a friend or a TV show you’re saving to catch up on over your next free Sunday.
Gig tickets are good.
As are pre-planned parties.
If you’re struggling, and all your efforts to relax and unwind in the moment fail to find fulfillment you can always resort to the carrot on a stick approach. Plan a treat to keep thinking of to get you through your illness, rough patch, or just the daily grind.
The knowledge of good things to come can make the present easier to get through, or at least seem less interminable.
You deserve a reward for your current efforts, see to it that you get one.