5 Things to Stop Doing Right Now for Blissful Self-Care

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My long journey towards developing a kinder relationship with myself has involved many ups and downs. One lesson I’ve learned along the way is that blissful self-care is as much about what we stop doing as it is about what we start doing. Here are five obvious-but-surprisingly-effective things I’ve learned to stop doing that have helped my self-care:

1. Staying up late

One of my non-negotiable is getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If I get less than this, I am unfocused, grumpy and more likely to feel blah for no reason (well, there is a reason: not enough sleep). I used to be perpetually sleep deprived and called it “normal.” Having given up my alarm clock in the last few years, I definitely notice the difference between “well-rested Hannah” and “not-enough-zzzs Hannah.”

Even if you have the space to sleep in past noon, staying up late isn’t cool for your hormones. Spending time in daylight stimulates our vitamin D production, which is necessary for optimal health.

2. Overindulging

Most of us have our go-to coping strategies and comfort mechanisms. Common candidates include over-eating, over-drinking, over-sleeping, over-spending or some other kind of over-indulging. These things are sneaky because they can feel self-caring in the short term. What they really do, however, is stop us feeling our feelings. When we rely on these things in the long-term, we usually end up feeling worse—not to mention the negative consequences for our health, bank balance and quality of life.

That’s not to say that we should never overindulge. My personal feeling is that a reward or treat is no biggie. We just don't want to pitch our tent there and turn overindulging into a regular way of dealing with uncomfortable feelings. 

3. Meeting one need at the expense of another

This is similar to overindulging but is important enough to examine in more depth.

We all have a set of human needs. Thee range from basic things like water, food and oxygen, all the way up to more complex desires like reaching for our potential. Between those two points is a wide spectrum and, within that spectrum, we want to make sure that we’re not meeting one need at the expense of another.

Quitting your job and going to live on the beach in Thailand might satisfy your need for adventure but if you also have a strong need for stability and security, that’s not going to work for you. Equally, impulse-buying that pair of designer booties might satisfy your need for spontaneity, but if you use your adult education fund to purchase them then it’s going to be at the expense of your need for growth.

Again, this isn’t to say that there isn’t a time and place for moving to Thailand or designer booties. It’s just about making conscious decisions that take into account all of our needs, not just listening to the one voice that happens to be in the driving seat at that time.

4. Hanging out with people you don’t actually like

Self-care in relationships is asking yourself "Do I like this person?" first before worrying about whether or not they like you.

Boundaries are beautiful, especially when it comes to people who take advantage, don't understand reciprocity or aren't respectful. Life is way too short.

5. Complaining about things on repeat

I’ve learned (time and time again) that if something keeps coming up in life, that’s a sign that it’s unresolved and deserves some attention.

When I find myself complaining about someone's behaviour, it’s usually because I haven’t set proper boundaries or been clear in my communication. When I find myself getting super annoyed by a particular person or situation, it’s usually because that person or situation reflects something that I’m not owning in myself.

Focusing on what I can do to change the situation or how I could show up differently not only feels much better, it’s a much more productive and adult way to approach challenging situations.

What have you started and what have you stopped to enjoy blissful self-care in your life? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Further reading: 9 suggestions for self-care during winter & how to overcome shame around self-care

Image: Neill Kumar