What’s going on inside your head right now? Are your own thoughts treating you kindly, or are they sending you down the road to negativity once again?

If it’s the latter, and you tend to be your own worst critic, have you ever thought about the effect that has on your self-care?

Self-talk plays a key role in your sense of self-worth and the quality of your self-care. It influences how you react in tough situations, how you deal with others, how you view the future, and much more. That critical inner voice that all of us hear at one time or another can be positive or negative, encouraging or discouraging, inspiring or demeaning.

And when you think about it, it’s something that only we can control.

Too often, we tend to focus on the negative with our self-talk. We believe that, despite our efforts, we’re not doing enough to meet the expectations of ourselves and others around us. And this negativity can feed on itself. The more we believe it, the more likely it is to become true.

How do we keep ourselves from falling into this trap? Here’s a blogger with some excellent reminders on how to care for yourself if you’re a caregiver: be self-compassionate; practice breath awareness; try a mind-body practice like yoga, tai chi, meditation or deep relaxation techniques; eat well and get quality sleep; and remain socially connected with friends, family and caregiver support groups. All of these recommendations start with being kind to yourself. That’s the first step to avoid stress and burnout.

So if you find yourself starting down that dreadful road of negative self-talk, stop yourself, pivot, and go forward in a different direction. Put a positive spin on your thoughts. Make it a habit to start each day with a positive outlook and attitude, and it can set a productive tone for your entire day.

Choose an affirmation of positive self-talk and make it your new mantra. We brainstormed a few in support groups this week .. one of my go-to's as a caregiver .. "I matter". Guess what? YOU matter too!