You hear it all the time…taking care of yourself is vital to feeling more vibrant, joyful and happy. But, how do you do it when you are busy taking care of others?

In today’s post, I’m sharing my 5 soulful tips on how to take good care of yourself.

Also, I’m sending a reminder that the Live Freely Circle for June starts TODAY. The theme for our online circle is “relaxation and play.” Find out more and reserve your spot by clicking here.

So what exactly is self-care?

I think of self-care as something that:
* reduces stress.
* simplifies and brings ease to your life.
* inspires creativity.
* fills up your energy.
* enhances your well-being.
* replaces judgment with compassion.
* brings you into the present moment.

Self-care is not just what you do, but it’s how you think.

Changing the way you think about self-care will help you remember how important it is to your health and happiness.

Noticing what you think about your own needs will put you better in touch with what’s going to inspire and enhance your life. Everyone has a different idea of what makes them feel good. What’s yours?

We all live busy lives. As women, we tend to nurture our families, our work, our communities – usually at the risk of putting our needs at the bottom of the list.

It doesn’t matter if you have a family or not, you probably have a tendency to put everyone’s needs above your own. What happens when you continue doing that over time?
* Your inner dreams collect dust.
* The connection to your true self gets blurry.
* Your health and well-being begin to suffer.
* Your energy and vitality are compromised.

Here are 5 soulful ways to take good care of yourself while you are taking care of others:

1) Let Go of Shoulds & Do What Makes you Happy

We get so lost in the shoulds. We think I should be doing the laundry, I should be making more money, I should say ‘yes’ to every request, We end up maxing out because we over-commit, over-give and over-do-it, worrying about what other people will think, rather than doing what truly makes us happy.

If you don’t think your needs, passions and dreams matter, then you truly never will find the time to nurture them. If you think you should take care of everyone’s needs above your own, you’ll never find time for your own self-care. If you wait for someone else to take care you your needs, it’s not going to happen.

Focus less on what others think, let go of pleasing everyone’s needs and tap into what truly does fill you up. When’s the last time you kicked your feet up and read a book or magazine just for fun? When’s the last time you had a massage? How often do paint, or write, or meet friends for dinner, or do whatever it is that makes your heart sing?

Stop being so self-critical. Try to worry less and let go of the shoulds, and start saying “yes” to the things that make you happy.

2) Love Yourself

So what really keeps us from taking good care of ourselves? We know that eating vegetables, drinking water and exercise are all good for us, yet most of us experience quite a bit of resistance when trying to do it consistently.

Do you really think your needs matter? Where do you put your attention and energy? Do you feel a sense of kindness, compassion and love towards yourself?

Explore how you talk to yourself. Are you caught up in mistakes made from the past? Do you beat yourself up or talk badly about yourself (don’t worry – we all do it from time-to-time). Do you believe in yourself? Do you truly love who you are?

Treat yourself with loving-kindness. Talk to yourself as you would a young child. When you treat yourself with love and kindness, you’ll start feeling better from the inside out.

3) Slow Down, Do Less, Make Space

We live in a world consumed with keeping busy. We are taught that being productive and successful in life means we must make more, do more, buy more, give more and be more. Check off the list and don’t stop because you must keep up in this fast paced world, or you’ll be deemed as unproductive, not good enough or even…lazy.

Self-care is practice in creating new healthy, supportive habits. One important, healthy habit is creating SPACE in your life for relaxation and play – without feeling guilty about it.

We are good at the doing part of our lives as we fill up every last minute with activity, responsibilities and shoulds.

But what would happen if you found more of a balance between doing and being?

What would your life look like if you slowed down and let go of trying to do so much?

What would it feel like if you scheduled space for self-care practices like sitting in stillness, reading an inspiring book, sipping a cup of hot tea, walking in nature, meditating, practicing yoga, writing in a journal, connecting to your breath, self-reflection or simply doing something creative just for the pure enjoyment of it?

Try scheduling SPACE in your weekly calendar and use that time to play, relax and dream.  It may feel crazy and even a waste of time at first. But as you let go of shoulds, and you treat yourself with kindness, you’ll find that this SPACE for relaxation and play is the perfect medicine for your soul.

4) Embrace Imperfection

Let go of the idea that you need to live a “perfect” life. There is no “perfect” time to start taking care of yourself, so simply start from where you are.

You can connect with your breath for 30 seconds during your lunch break. You can wake up 15 minutes earlier to stretch on your yoga mat. Maybe your self-care for the day is simply drinking a few extra glasses of water.

Do things imperfectly for a while and notice how freeing that is. You may have to say “no” to extra obligations. You can’t be everything to everyone. If you have to leave dishes in the sink longer than you’d like so you can rest and restore your energy – then DO IT. If you have to ask for help and not be the superwoman who’s trying to do it all – YOU MUST.

Embrace imperfection and you’ll start to become more aware of its beauty.

5) Be Mindful

Making self-care a priority in your life is about being mindful. Choosing mindfulness means you are willing to practice accepting your life as it is now. It means you are willing to practice letting go of how you want your life to be so you can be more focused and excited about where you are in this moment.

Put your attention on the here and now. Walk forward mindfully with observation, kindness and self-love, and you’ll start to feel a calming effect take over. You’ll be more in touch with the inner peace that is always within you.

You’ll start to feel that when you take good care of yourself in a soulful way, your mind feels less agitated and restless, your body feels less tense and rigid and your spirit feels energized and free.

Your Personal Reflection:

What’s one thing you can do – today – to take good care of yourself?

Like I mentioned, registration for this month’s Live Freely Circle ends TONIGHT.

In the circle you will practice invaluable soul care tools that will help you move through the current obstacles keeping you from living a more soulful, authentic, creative and joyful life.

This group is AMAZING…and we are saving YOU a spot!

Click HERE to join the Live Freely Circle. I can’t wait to share this month with you!

Keep taking care of yourself and keep being you…