A meaningful life is one sustained quest for personal growth. Increasingly, that term is folded in with “personal development,” popular terminology that continues to cause a buzz. A more religious take on it might mark out the stages of maturity as “asleep, awakening, integration, acceptance, application and service.” (That last step is a call to altruism, charity work, or volunteering, where we give of ourselves for a greater cause.) Personal growth may be more pragmatic, too – taking on a new job or career or returning to school. But that quest is often challenging, so here are some tips for self-care to get you through.
While the term “self-care“ has entered the lexicon only recently, it’s a concept that’s been around forever. The core idea is that you can’t be a good friend, productive worker, or effective caretaker without attending to your own needs. Some benefits of self-care are that you feel like you can give more to others, and you’re better in tune with who you really are. We live in such a workaholic society that often we are pressured to push on when we feel depleted or exhausted. But self-care emphasizes healing ourselves in these moments. So meditate or get a massage or try acupuncture or read a book that you’ve been eyeing on the shelf for years. Exactly what you do doesn’t matter so long as it revitalizes your sense of wholeness.
Another essential component of self-care is making good choices. Some of the best choices that you can make include reading, eating a balanced diet, starting a career that you love, and learning to accept yourself for who you are. Positive choices bolster your mental well-being. For instance, let’s say that you reserve a slice of your paycheck for savings. Pretty quickly, you’ll stack cash, not because you’re greedy, but to avoid feeling that jolt of worry whenever you reach for your credit card. Or imagine that you surround yourself with friends you love and appreciate. No matter what difficulties you’re facing, being around a solid crew that gives you heartfelt advice will strengthen your resolve in a way that most likely wouldn’t happen if you were on your own. In the end, making good choices is not only wiser, but it also proves to be a lot more fun.
Even if you take care of yourself and make the best choices that you can, you’ll still get stressed out from time to time. It’s inevitable – one moment you’re on the mountaintop, the next, you’re down in the depths. Actually, that’s one of the best stress-prevention strategies you can adopt: Accept that so much of life is helplessness. You’ll be bombarded with worries and stressors from the time you achieve a sense of consciousness until the time you die. That’s why it’s so important to develop strategies to cope with stress and anxiety.
Consider trying yoga and meditation, and learning deep-breathing exercises. One of the goals of all these activities is to create a calming atmosphere that will quiet the burble of anxiety in your mind. Maybe the most effective strategy to reduce your stress, however, is one that we rarely think of — sleep. Too often, sleeping is considered to be a blank space in our routine when we’re not productive. In actuality, sleep heals our mind and body and reduces our stress. The result? We’re even more energized to take on the next big phase of life – whenever that appears in our journey toward personal growth.