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Self discipline: an important form of self care that will add years to your life

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

When we think of self care, our minds go to practices that soothe and comfort us. But did you know self discipline is a form of self care, too?

In fact, self discipline comforts us by providing a routine that we can count on.

If you grew up in a chaotic family, where you weren’t taught how to establish healthy routines, self discipline can be a great way to nurture yourself.

Self discipline is not the same as being mean to yourself. It’s a way of taking care of yourself to ensure long-term success and growth.

Self discipline is not the same as being mean to yourself. It's a way of taking care of yourself to ensure long-term success and growth. Click To Tweet

Many people who struggle with depression have found keeping to a routine beneficial. For example, exercising daily releases endorphins that make them feel better.

Rather than reaching for an unhealthy substitute, they rely on their body’s own ability to produce feel-good chemicals.

Some of the more common self care methods like pedicures and spa days are not viable for everyone. They can harm you inadvertently by putting you in financial peril.

Self discipline costs nothing and benefits you in both the long and short term.

Self discipline costs nothing and benefits you in both the long and short term. Click To Tweet

Self control is a fruit of the spirit. God knows when we say no to things that are bad for us we will be a force for good in the world.

Rather than making rash decisions based on our immediate felt needs, we’ll consider whether this is good for ourselves and the people around us.

And we won’t feel deprived, but our confidence will increase instead.

You’ll no longer be held back or ruled by your temptations. You’ll stop making decisions based on how you feel, and use healthy coping mechanisms rather than unhealthy ones.

Here are 5 ways to practice self discipline for a better life.

1. Daily exercise

This could mean going for a walk every day. Or working up a sweat in a gym. Moving your body for 30 minutes or so a day is key.

It releases feel-good chemicals for an immediate benefit. At the same time, you’re set up for future good health and a longer, better-quality life.

2. Digital self discipline

Rather than looking at your phone several times throughout the day, set aside certain times to check email and social media.

For example, I check my email in the morning, midday and again in the evening. I’m not perfect, but do my best to stick to that schedule.

For social media, I set a timer for 15-30 minutes. During that time I post and engage with followers. When the timer goes off, I close the tab.

Decide how much time you want to devote to social media per day, then divide that time between your platforms and set the timer accordingly.

self discipline

3. Eat healthily at the same times

Eating healthy meals at the same time every day improves health and well-being. It will even add years to your life.

Preparing healthy meals is a discipline that might feel boring at first but is such an important form of self care.

Taking a few minutes to pack your lunch will increase your financial as well as physical health. Because those take out meals are high in both dollars and empty calories.

4. Don’t trust your feelings

Self discipline means caring for yourself like a good parent would. That means encouraging yourself to stick to a routine even when it doesn’t feel good.

We sometimes have to do the opposite of what we feel when developing healthy routines. Click To Tweet

We sometimes have to do the opposite of what we feel when developing healthy routines. For example, I tend to isolate when I’m feeling down.

That’s when I know it’s time to pick up the phone and call someone. Even though it’s the last thing I want to do.

5. Be kind to yourself

Especially if you grew up in a toxic family, it’s easy to fall into the trap of chastising yourself when you don’t do things perfectly.

Forgive yourself and receive God’s grace when you slip or fall into old habits. Sometimes we can glean good information from these so-called failures.

What happened right before you fell off the wagon that triggered you? Write it down and see if you can find patterns.

Encourage yourself to try again and keep trying. His mercies are made new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

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