Let’s talk about micro acts of Self-Care for the people-pleasers
If you are reading this, you might be someone who feels stuck in the role of constantly pleasing others.
- Continuously seek approval from others?
- Pretend to agree with others to avoid conflict?
- Go out of your way to stand out by taking on more than you can handle?
- Hide what you are truly feeling inside?
- Say “yes” when you really mean “no?”
If you resonated with any of this, you might be considered a people-pleaser (I know I am one!). You are NOT ALONE!
This post will discuss how we can show up for ourselves the way we show up for others through the practice of micro self-care!
Many of us think we know what self-care is, but so many of us do not know how to actually practice it.
At some point, you may have heard the term “self-care.” Some might roll their eyes when they hear about self-care, others might be very enthusiastic about practicing self-care, and some may not know what self-care is. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines self-care as “providing adequate attention to one’s own physical and psychological wellness.” Broadly speaking, self-care is prioritizing our well-being. Unfortunately, it is getting harder and harder to find time for ourselves in today’s busy society. Luckily, there are tiny things we can do throughout the day that do not require a lot of time, money, or work called micro acts of self-care. The need for self-care is especially difficult for people who go out of their way to help others, which we will call people-pleasers.
Who are people-pleasers? Do you know of any in your life? Are you one?
People-pleasers often desire to meet everyone else’s needs before their own. Tirelessly working to make others happy even at the expense of one’s own happiness. As a female-identifying people-pleaser, I have struggled for years to make time to prioritize myself, which is how I eventually learned that sometimes the small (micro) things can make the biggest impact. Over time, I had developed a habit of adding too much to my plate, unsure how to say no to any opportunity or request. How could I say no without upsetting someone? That lifestyle became exhausting. I realized that I was not setting aside any time for myself. Taking care of other people can be both rewarding and exhausting work, and the difference often depends on how well we take care of ourselves.
Why is micro self-care particularly important for those of us who might be considered people-pleasers?
At this point, it might be in your nature to take care of others and do your best to keep their needs met. Micro-acts of self-care can be lifesavers when it comes to saving some of the precious energy for yourself that you so willingly give to others. The idea here is to not aim for something big like a vacation but instead do small acts that can give you some of that energy back to get you through your day. These acts are intended to be quick but effective, allowing even the busiest people to practice.
Here are some ideas for you to try out in your micro self-care journey:
- Talk to one of your absolute favorite people on this earth
- Find a favorite object to fidget with when feeling stressed (I like pop-its)
- Listen to your favorite podcast (I personally love Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us)
- Identify YOUR individual superpowers by asking yourself questions like, “what am I great at?”
- Burn a candle
- Take a warm bath
- Open the window to let sunlight in
- Gift yourself a plant
- Change up your space
- Take short walks in nature
- Pet your animal
- Set a timer and read for 5 minutes
- Drink some tea
- Give yourself a hug
- Create your own!!!
It is not always possible to carve out big chunks of time for self-care. Instead, I am asking you to try to incorporate one or two micro self-care practices into your routine to nourish yourself throughout the demands of your daily life.
Start practicing micro self-care today!
DO NOT wait to practice micro self-care until you feel drained or living each day on autopilot. Micro self-care is a practice that should be implemented throughout each day. The overarching goal of micro self-care is to slow down and prioritize caring for the person who has consistently shown up for you…YOU!
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This blog post was written by: Sarah Thompson, MA, LGPC
Sarah Thompson is a licensed graduate professional counselor (LGPC) and independent contractor at Your Best Self Therapy. Sarah specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults, and families experiencing a wide range of presenting symptoms including but not limited to anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, ADHD, and life transitions.