We’re heading into a busy season for many people, especially for those who work for The Salvation Army.  With school back in session, holidays on the horizon it’s easy to put ourselves last, in face, we’re often taught to do this.

Caring for yourself is an act of love. Loving yourself allows you to better love and serve others. If you put your needs last, you become depleted, overwhelmed and, eventually, burnt out.

So, let’s change the conversation on self-care, finding time and methods for showing ourselves love and attention during this busy season:

Here are eight simple ideas to get you started:

1. Write down affirmations

This can feel silly at first but writing down compliments, strengths or inspirational notes and then reading them throughout the day helps your mind to think well of you, eventually replacing negative self-talk with positive messages.

2. Unplug for a few minutes during the day

Take a few minutes each day away from the phone, computer and others to check in with yourself. This can look like meditation or sitting still at your desk. Focusing on your breathing, and nothing else, is calming and it allows you to check in with yourself and notice how you’re feeling.

3. Practice single-tasking

Especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed, multi-tasking can become stressful and exhausting and it interferes with your ability to be productive and do your best with each task. Focus on just one thing at a time, cutting out distractions until you complete each task.

4. Go for a walk

Exercise improves your physical and mental health. If you don’t have time to take a class or stick to a routine, take a walk around your office or neighborhood. The time away will provide opportunity for reflection and your body will thank you for the effort.

5. Limit your food choices

Have a few healthy options for each meal that you rotate throughout the week. This is a good way to cut down on last minute, often unhealthy, choices without becoming overwhelmed without the pressure to become a modern Martha Stewart or Julia Child.

6. Keep a journal

Take just a few minutes at the end of the day to write down how you’re feeling. This is a great way to process your emotions even on lighter days and to validate those feelings as well.

7. Be your own best friend

Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. Would you shame your best friend for taking a long coffee break or sneaking in a nap? For getting a pedicure or shortening a hard day by going out to lunch with friends? Seeing yourself through this lens makes it easier to prioritize your needs.

8. Ask for help

Above all else, don’t be afraid to ask for help! We were meant to get through this life, and this work, together. Reach out to others for support and provide it to those around you when you can.

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