Focus on What You Can Control: Practicing Self-Care
2020 has been a difficult year. It’s been overwhelming, feelings of uncertainty have been common, stress levels have increased and so much feels out of our control. Because of these elevated stress levels, it’s more important than ever to focus on what we can control and practice self-care to ensure we’re able to respond to life’s challenges in a healthy way.
Every day, you have an opportunity to change the way you approach your day. Try the following three activities to focus on what you can control and take better care of yourself.
Even in the midst of 2020, we can find things for which to be thankful, but it takes practice. When we focus on gratitude instead of the everyday challenges we are all facing, it changes our perspective. Each morning, practice gratitude by writing down three things for which you’re grateful and meditate on those things. This action is referred to as “practicing gratitude” for a reason because it will take time and practice for this action to become part of a regular self-care routine. Miss a day? No problem! Just keep trying!
Don’t sweat the small stuff (or even the stuff that feels big)
Many of the activities and traditions that we look forward to are being cancelled, postponed or simply need to be reimagined. Rather than getting stuck in the disappointment of change, embrace the opportunity to create a new memory or a new tradition. No trick-or-treating? Create an elaborate scavenger hunt and decorate cookies, instead. No big Thanksgiving gathering? Enjoy the intimacy of your small family and cook the meal together. Find ways to enjoy what you can control and let go of the things you can’t.
Set small goals
Do you participate in behaviors or activities that leave you feeling blue? Perhaps you spend hours scrolling through news and social media or regularly hit snooze and miss your morning workout. Self-care means doing away with behaviors that do not benefit you and focusing on the things that do.
When you set big goals, they’re harder to achieve, and it takes longer to feel a sense of accomplishment. Instead, set small goals: Walk 20 minutes per day instead of scrolling through your social media feed. Make your bed when you wake up. Have coffee with a friend once each week. Go to a yoga class.
Instead of chastising yourself for failing to reach big goals, make a plan you can control by creating small, attainable stepping stone goals.