Many of us have so many responsibilities that we forget to take care of our personal needs. Self-care is a popular topic these days, but it is often poorly explained. Perhaps you have seen it mentioned in books stores, there are sections for self-help books, there are magazine articles and yet don’t have a clear sense of how you’re supposed to incorporate it to your life. It may have seemed unclear to you. Alternatively, maybe you aren’t convinced that you should practice regular self-care. Perhaps you think your resources are better saved for working and for looking after others.
What is self-care?
In the dictionary, self-care is defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. Self-care is the ability to take an active role in protecting our own well-being and happiness. Sounds pretty straight forward!
Self-care is something we consciously do to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health and wellbeing.
Although it sounds simple enough, it’s not always easy to implement. Self-care should not be something we feel forced to do. This should be something we want or need to do for the goal of attaining better overall health. Therefore, it should invigorate us and not deplete us. This is not a task on your to-do list that needs to be completed.
Why Is Self Care So Important?
We are all very familiar with stress. Stress is a known toxin to our body and overall health. Sure some stress is good, like eustress (think of working out), but chronic stress is not. According to science, there is a direct relationship between chronic stress and disease .
Chronic stress is known to increase the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. Having chronically elevated cortisol levels is not only unpleasant but downright detrimental to your health .
Guilt! In this day of on the go, never stop and goal-oriented life we live, we tend to forget to take time for ourselves. Taking time for you has almost been demonized and frowned upon by society. People look at you as though you’re weak, unworthy or downright selfish. Well, I got news for them, “you’re not!” Living by these societal principles will only lead you one place, burnoutville. It is humanly impossible to sustain this level of performance lifestyle without ending up bedridden, in the ER or dead.
Can your car run on empty? Can you perform on an empty stomach? You know the answers. So what makes you think you can burn through your energy reserves and be able to perform at your best? You can’t! It’s that simple!
A common excuse is that there is not enough time. Well, time is relative and what you make of it. We all have 24 hours in a day, what you do with it is your choice.
Some people claim that they don’t know how to implement self-care. Well, you should consider yourself lucky because this blog gives you more than enough ways to overcome this obstacle.
It is time you think about yourself and to pamper yourself a little. We all deserve it! All work and no play is not a formula for success. You need to reacquaint yourself with You. Learn both self-care and self-love so that you can start to implement this easy yet uber-important daily ritual.
Because we don’t want to bore you with long paragraphs, and exhaustive information, we have literally listed them in point form so that you can get started immediately. Don’t waste time, your health depends on it.
How to Make Changes In Your Life
Create a “no” list of things you don’t want to do. Things you genuinely know at the core of your being that bug you.
Healthy lifestyle (food, water, products).
Proper and quality sleep (different for everyone, but 7-8 hours of sleep each night seems to be the norm).
Physical activity (too many to list, but do what makes you feel good, not exhausted).
Mediation and relaxation activities. Yoga has many physical and emotional benefits.
Social interaction with those you love, not those who envy or drain you mentally and physically.
Find what makes you relax and implement it daily for a minimum of 30 minutes , you will benefit from doing what you enjoy in the long term (reading, writing, walking…..).
Try to implement laughter as much as possible .
Take time to identify your triggers (people, noises… ) and avoid them.
Spend time alone to get to know yourself.
Make a gratitude list. After the emotion of love, gratitude is the second most healing.
Read inspiring quotes.
Spend time outside.
Listen to your favourite music (shown to induce endorphins).
Never compromise yourself and do things you don’t really want to do.
Unplug from tech and social media.
Play with animals and get into nature.
Turn off your phone for a few hours during the day and once a week if possible.
Take a nap (20-30 minutes).
The list above is by no means a complete list, but I think you get the idea. We are all individuals. They say 99% of our DNA is identical and that 1% makes up the individual we are. Well find out what your 1% is and start practicing some self-care, you won’t regret it.
To your health.