This story was last updated Nov. 21, 2022
Everybody tells you that self-care’s important, but it can be difficult to know how to take care of yourself. Between juggling your responsibilities and taking care of everyone else — your clients, family and friends — there may be little time or energy left over for you. In fact, it may have been a while since you thought about what you really want and what makes you truly happy.
The key to living your best life is stepping away from what everyone else is doing and getting back to you — your taste, your aesthetic, your actual goals. Here are 10 ways to get yourself back to center.
1. Make time for quiet
Almost everyone puts this on their list of resolutions, but it soon falls by the wayside. A daily practice — whether it involves a religious observance, meditation, visualization or other mindfulness practice — helps you block out the noise and get back to your own internal voice.
Not sure where to start? Sit comfortably, focus on your breathing, and try to make your mind go blank. If an intrusive thought comes through, imagine yourself tying a balloon to it and watching it drift away, or put it into a rowboat and watch it sail away downstream.
2. Start journaling with a purpose
I feel that my life has been a collection of journals, all of them beautiful, most of them blank. I always felt that I had to have something earth-shattering and journal-worthy to say, so I rarely got started, much less stuck with journaling.
Instead of expecting to write a masterpiece, make your journal purposeful with a simple theme. Gratitude. Goals. Observations. Limit the number of entries per day to three to five sentences or bullet points. By better defining your journaling and making it a manageable length, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.
3. Reconnect with your tribe
When you get busy, you often surround yourself with colleagues and connections and put all of your focus on your career. While you may love your fellow agents and clients, you need to connect with people who know the real you — beyond your professional identity.
Call or get together with your best friend, a sibling or a cousin you grew up with. Reconnect with someone who knows you just as you — not as a brand or an image. Getting back to basics and to the person you used to be is a great way to keep yourself grounded and help you see how far you’ve come.
4. Revisit a childhood goal
Think back to who you wanted to be as a child. Maybe you wanted to be a writer or an actress. Maybe you wanted to be a vet or the President of the United States. Cast your mind back and try to remember the first occupation that really resonated with you.
If you feel a little disconnected from your authentic self, try to get back in touch with that inner child and his or her dreams. Volunteer at a pet rescue for the little girl who wanted to be a vet. Join a community theater troupe and feed your inner actor. Get back to basics and make some of those long-gone dreams come true.
5. Get a hobby
If you feel burned out because you spend every waking moment on work, it may be time for you to develop a hobby. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, but having something else to focus on and enjoy can make every day a little more fun.
Remember, a hobby doesn’t have to be something you already know how to do. Buy a basic art kit and play around with painting. Refinish an end table instead of sending it out to an expert. Teach yourself a new skill using DIYs from YouTube. Let go of the result and just have fun as you learn.
6. Express yourself
Do you ever feel like you are going through the motions, saying the same things to the same people every day? It may be time for you to find a way to get real and express yourself through performance or art.
Start a blog, try out for a play, go to open mike night at the local stand-up club. Find a way to get in touch with your inner performer and talk about the things that matter to you. Love pop culture? Start a video channel to talk about your favorite shows. Love politics? Get out and stump for your favorite candidate.
7. Pursue personal goals
We sometimes confuse professional and personal goals, forgetting that even if we weren’t working, we’d still have dreams and things to accomplish. Whether you want to call it a bucket list or just think about some personal goals that you’ve put aside, it’s time to start getting serious about the pursuit of your aims.
Have you always wanted to travel? Do you dream of skydiving? Want to pursue that college degree? Find out what it would take to accomplish your biggest dreams and start taking steps toward making them happen. You don’t have to do it all today — just set your sights and begin.
8. Talk to the experts
You may find that the things you want to do personally require a little help or some expert advice. Seek out mentors or other sources of information as you begin pursuing your dreams or learning new skills.
Find an art teacher to give you some basic instruction. Work with a vocal coach to get ready to try out for a musical. Talk to a travel agent and price out that round-the-world journey. Talking to another person about your goals makes them more real — and makes you more likely to follow through in their pursuit.
9. Examine your patterns — and get help if you need it
It is scary to admit that we are doing things that aren’t working for us. Maybe you find that you undermine yourself by losing focus just when you’re about to accomplish something. Maybe your spending is out of control or you have unhealthy attitudes toward money. Maybe you’re allowing food, alcohol or other substances to call the shots in your daily life.
Take an honest, unflinching look at yourself, especially if you see yourself doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. If you need to get help, go ahead and take the steps to make changes in your life. There’s no time like the present to make everything better.
10. Give yourself a break
Above all, if you’re struggling to feel good about yourself or the things you’ve accomplished, you may just need to be a little kinder to yourself. Stop spending so much time on Instagram comparing yourself to others. Stop being so critical about your personal appearance. Stop driving yourself to work too much in order to keep up with someone else in your market.
Take better care of yourself, and practice positive self-talk. Schedule time off, and stick to it. Create family time that’s sacred, whether it’s church on Sunday or nightly family dinnertime. The kinder you are to yourself, the better you’ll feel about everyone and everything else in your world.
Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.