Taking care of yourself is a full time job, but if you can't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of others! These past few years, I've really dived head first into the constant, sometimes chaotic routine of giving to myself first.
Putting all the attention on your self may seem overwhelming at first ~ It sure did to me! I was in over my head with trying to keep up with myself not too long ago. I barely had time to work! But once you dive in and give it a go, you'll naturally fall into a groove, I promise!
You'll start to notice things that don't work for you anymore. It seemed crazy for me to think I needed to give up my job schedule and living logistics at first, but once I gave myself some space to care for myself, 'everything started to fall into place', as my step father always says. Things naturally start shifting in your life as you evolve. What ever doesn't work for you, will just leave your life, and new ways of being will open up! I used to love going out partying, and now I'm finding that I don't enjoy drinking or staying out late much at all anymore. Sounds boring, I know, but I love my new lifestyle!
We have a physical, emotional and spiritual body within each of us, so we need to attend to all three entities.
In our physical bodies, to stay healthy, we must keep our immune system strong by way of keeping our digestive track clean. We do this by the foods we eat, and not just what we eat, but why, how, where, and when we eat as well, via our own hands, which are an extension of our heart. Cooking for ourselves is the best way to put loving kindness into our being. You can go to a restaurant and order a super healthy meal, but who is preparing your food? What type of energy are they pouring into it? That's why it's recommended to only eat out to 3 meals per week, according to Ayurveda and Macrobiotics philosophies and practices.
Keeping our gut healthy requires proper elimination, and mild cleansing/detoxing techniques! Our skin is our biggest organ, so pimples and rashes may live here if the digestive system isn't operating optimally. You can aid in the elimination process by giving yourself a hot body scrub and/or dry brushing, and/or an Abyhanga self love massage daily, to keep the lymphatic and circulatory systems moving and pushing out toxins though the skin.
Tongue scraping and oil pulling help as well. As soon as you get up, before brushing your teeth or drinking anything, scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper to remove all the toxins that have built up while your body was sleeping/cleansing. See Ancient Art of Cleansing post. Then, swish a tablespoon of sesame oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes to pull out toxins and to eliminate bad breath, and to enhance the health of your teeth and gums.
Proper sleep, relaxation and movement also keep the immune system strong but really assist in balancing the nervous system and keeping your emotional body calm. Waking with the laws of nature as the sun rises, and eating breakfast by 9/10, lunch by 1/2, and dinner by 6, followed by sleep time by 10, will keep you aligned with the rhythm of nature, so that your body can be in harmony with the sun and properly digest and assimilate all that you've taken in throughout the day.
A daily walk / exercise of some sort in nature to fill your body with the prana from the trees, coupled with yoga practices and meditation will calm the nervous system and restore your body's natural ability to heal itself, keeping your own chi/prana/life force moving fluidly. Whenever the chi stops and becomes stagnant, is when problems may arise.
Your electromagnetic field/aura is your spiritual body that needs to be catered to as well. By practicing yoga and long deep breathing or other yogic pranyama exercises, you balance your nervous system, but you also strengthen your heart which cleans your auric field. You radiate at 9ft in each direction as a being, so it's just as important, if not more so to pay attention to this spiritual body rather than just your physical body. Your physical body houses your spiritual body, so one does not work without the other. Everything starts in the spiritual body and manifests itself in the physical, so go to the root for all healing and raise your vibration to receive only good things in your life!
Schedule yourself first, it's worth it! It also helps to have a friend who is going through the same evolution in life as a support system. It's a lifelong journey, so take each day at a time. Remember, it takes 40 days of doing something consistently to remove a pattern, another 40 days to neutralize the pattern, and 40 more days to replace the pattern with a new one.
Fall in love with yourself and have fun doing it!