Lately, it seems like we live in a culture in which we equate our value as human beings with how busy we are and how many items we check off our “to-do” list each day.

And when our “to-do” lists spiral out of control, it’s tempting to carve out more time by neglecting our own needs (not getting enough sleep, eating fast food, skipping a trip to the gym, etc.)

But actually, when you feel really busy or stressed is the WORST possible time to abandon your self-care because studies have shown that neglecting your own self-care makes you LESS productive and efficient overall.

Self-Care Is Not a Luxury.

Self-care is an investment in the maintenance and rejuvenation of your body, mind and spirit. It’s absolutely necessary to help you be able to take on the stress and challenges that are constantly coming at you in our fast-paced world.

Self-Care Is Not Being Selfish.

You may have been taught that it’s noble and good to put the needs of others before your own. But actually, when you’re exhausted and stressed and cranky, how available are you really to support your loved ones?

When your needs are met, you can show up for others as the best version of yourself. You’ll be happier, healthier, and have considerably more “bandwidth” to help other people.

Taking care of yourself is one of the best possible things you can do for the people you love.

Treat Yourself Like a Ferrari.

What would happen if you were to care for your body as if it were a high-performance vehicle?

When you’re diligent about caring for your Ferrari properly (providing high-quality fuel, keeping up with regular oil changes, etc.), it can operate at its best for you.

Likewise, when you’re diligent about caring for yourself properly, you’ll be able to operate at your best for your business and for the people you love.

Discover Which Practices Work Best For You.

My sweetheart goes to the gym for two hours a day, five days a week. While I admire his consistency and discipline, I can’t find it in myself to commit to that. However, walking or getting on the elliptical runner for twenty minutes is something that I can get myself to do that boosts my energy significantly. And once I get started, I often exercise much more than that.

Personally, I need my self-care practices to be QUICK, or I won’t do them consistently. Taking a moment to set my intention for the day or stretch my calves, or write down five things I’m grateful for before going to sleep… these are all things I can accomplish. 30 minutes of meditation? Not happening.

The point is, find what works for YOU so that you’ll actually do it and get to enjoy the benefits.

Here’s a great place to start… determine what optimum health looks like for you in these key areas:

Getting Enough Sleep
Eating Well
Drinking Enough Water
“Gamify” Your Self-Care.

Gamification is “the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.”

Just knowing that certain self-care practices are good for me are not enough.

I need the serotonin rush of checking something off my list. I need credit. I need accountability.

That’s why I created my Self-Care Score Card. This is a score card that I fill out throughout the week, earning points for completing specific self-care practices. At the end of the week, I send my score card to my accountability buddy.

I’m calling this a new approach to self-care because I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this.

PJ Van Hulle works with speakers, authors, and coaches who want to grow their e-mail lists so that they can make more money with less stress and reach more people with their message. She is the author of The Little Book of Prosperity and the creator of the List-a-Palooza 90 Day List-Building Challenge: www.List-a-Palooza.com.

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