You’ve been stressed lately. There’s a big initiative at work and you’ve been putting in a lot of hours, even bringing work home in the evening and on the weekends, and getting up early to catch up on your email inbox that you never have time for during the workday.

You’re starting to feel the effects of too much work and not enough quality sleep. You’re feeling run down and hoping this itchy throat and congestion in the morning doesn’t develop into a cold or the flu.

You’ve got no time for anything you enjoy; you can’t remember the last time you had a massage or went out with friends during the week.

You try to unwind some nights by binge watching your favorite TV shows and Netflix, but that doesn’t really help.

You just want to start feeling better, to be full of energy, to really relax after a long day of work and running around. You want to stop working so much and have more fun with family and friends.

You want the control back in your life so life doesn’t feel like it’s running you.  

This scenario sounds a bit out of control, definitely unbalanced at the least. It was my experience years ago when in my Corporate career and I wished someone asked me sooner: who’s taking care of you?

So, who is taking care of you? If the above sounds a lot like your current situation, you’re definitely not taking good care of yourself and I’m sure you know that. It’s time for a change.

It’s time for some self-care and self-love. In fact, if you’re not feeling well on a regular basis – physically, mentally and emotionally – it’s probably long overdue.

Self-care is actually part of self-love, and includes mostly physical aspects like going for walks, exercising, drinking plenty of water, and making sure you’re sleeping well. It’s taking care of your “self”.

Self-love includes not just your physical wellbeing, but also loving and caring acts for your emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing too. It’s about balancing and supporting all the parts that make you whole.

Self-love is having regard for your own well-being and happiness and doing the things that support it. And it’s also paying attention to when something isn’t working for you so that you can pivot quickly and make a better choice that’s more aligned to your best interests.

It seems pretty straightforward but many people act in ways that don’t support wellbeing, for numerous reasons. Sometimes they don’t even realize it’s happening until something makes them stop to listen, like a serious health crisis or the end of a relationship. It can go on for weeks, months, even years before being addressed.

Here are 3 tips to bring more self-care and self-love into your life, so that you take back control and start feeling better fast.

1. Get a pre-sleep ritual. Sleep is so important. For optimal health and wellbeing, it’s recommended that you get no less than 7 hours each night.

Make that happen by creating a ritual to help you de-stress at night. Take an epsom salt bath, read a book, meditate, do some stretching or relaxing breathing exercises. Do whatever works best to help you unwind after a long day.

2. Treat yourself like you treat your best friend. Most of us are our own biggest critic and we think and say some very mean and unhelpful things. Would you talk to your best friend like that?

Be supportive, be kind, and be loving to yourself. Compliment yourself without feeling guilty about it. Pay attention to what you say or think when you look at yourself in the mirror.

Shut down that self-critic quickly and replace any negative self-judgement with a more positive statement that supports you. Again, pretend like you’re helping your best friend.

Take a break from self-judgement; don’t be so hard on yourself. For example, call something you accomplished “good enough”, without worrying about all the ways you could have made it better.

Even if something goes wrong or you don’t get the result you wanted, make sure you treat yourself like someone you love. We’re all human and we’re supposed to make mistakes, that’s how we learn and grow.

3. Speak your truth. Express what you truly feel, think, or want to do – respectfully without regard for what people might think or how you may be judged. 

We’ve all done this before: where you agree to help out a co-worker with a project, and then end up doing most of the work while he gets the credit and your own work gets put on hold. You were trying to be helpful and a team player, but as it kept taking more time away from your priorities, you began to really regret helping out, even getting short-tempered, frustrated and angry about it.

In these kind of cases, don’t hesitate to say “no” when you have to. Your most valuable assets are your time and your energy, and it’s an act of self-care and self-love to prioritize your wellbeing over any requests from others.

If you have a hard time with implementing self-care and self-love on your own, I urge you to pick one of these tips and commit to it for the next month. And after that month, spend 15 -30 minutes to focus on where you are and evaluate your progress. Has your overall stress lessened? Are you sleeping better? Do you feel like you have more control of your work life and balancing a healthy personal life too? Most importantly, are you feeling better and more in control? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Another act of self-love is to get help when you need it. If you feel like you could benefit from someone partnering with you to reach your career and personal goals, I offer Free 20 Minute Insight Calls for professionals. You’ll gain greater insight into your specific challenges and how coaching can help. Schedule your call directly by clicking here or via my website at www.kathyzering.com.