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Why self care is so important for you

The term self care spans a full range of issues: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Some people think of it as 'mind, body, spirit' or "wellness", "healthy balance" or simply mental health. All are interconnected and failure to take care of yourself in one area, say your body can lead to issues in another, say mind or emotional state. Self care in its simplest form can be compared the process to oxygen masks in airplanes - you’re supposed to secure your own mask before you assist others. The logic here is that if you can’t breathe, you can’t very well help anyone else. Practising self-care is much the same. You have to take care of your own mental and physical health before you can truly devote yourself to your family and friends. But what is self-care, exactly? Generally speaking, self-care is engaging in activities and behaviours that have a positive effect on your mental and physical health. There is no one thing - or even a list of things - that encompasses self-care. It’s different for each person. However, the end goal is always the same: to reduce stress, preserve relationships, maintain a beneficial work/life balance, and nurture your mental and physical well-being.

Self-care is necessary for a number of reasons.

  • It increases your sense of self-love, allowing you to appreciate and accept yourself for who you are.

  • It promotes feelings of calm and relaxation, serving as a way to refocus and come back to your daily life refreshed and ready to take on anything.

  • It improves both physical and mental health by reducing the effects of prolonged stress on your mind and body.

Ultimately, meeting your own needs makes you a more valuable partner, parent, friend, employee or caregiver. When you’re healthy and well-rested, you’re better equipped to support others.

To better understand what self care is not - it is not an emergency response or adding more tasks to an already overflowing to do list, it is about letting go of frenzied schedules, meaningless activities, unhealthy behaviours, worry and guilt. Problem is self care is usually the first thing to go when we're stressed and that makes things worse. You know the story, you're overwhelmed at work. You have a ton of projects piling up at home and your calendar is packed with overdue tasks. To make room for all of this stuff, you skip lunch, stop exercising and forget about your social life entirely. We brush and floss but what daily activity do we do to maintain our psychological health?

It's easy to neglect taking care of ourselves when we're busy and overwhelmed, particularly neglecting exercise when you're overextended because, exercise requires time, energy and often a change of clothes or trip to the shower. It's important, so you need to make time for it in your daily routine. Consider teaming up with a workout buddy or a group to hold yourself accountable. The physical benefit is obviously important, but what many people who regularly exercise will tell you, it helps in dealing with emotional self care issues such as stress, anxiety, sadness and depression. Squeeze time in your schedule for yourself. Create some down time in your schedule to devote to activities you enjoy: reading, listening to music, catching up on sports, looking at the clouds. Block that time in your calendar, too. Then, do everything you can to defend that time.

Some other ideas for self care are:

  • Eat healthy regularly and don't skip breakfast or lunch

  • Exercise, lift weights, practice martial arts, go for a walk

  • Get a massage, facial, pedicure or manicure

  • Buy something nice for yourself, wear clothes that make you feel good

  • Take a day trip or mini vacation

  • Volunteer

  • Make time for prayer, meditation, reflection and relaxation

  • Spend time outdoors in nature, go for a swim, walk in the bush, lay in the sun

  • Set limits with your work colleagues and boss and give yourself enough time to complete tasks

  • Spend time with others whose company you enjoy and stay in contact with important people in your life

  • Treat yourself kindly and limit negative self critical talk, feel proud of yourself and seek comfort in activities, people, places and relationships

  • Allow yourself to cry and find things that make you laugh

  • Re read your fave books, watch a fave movie or listen to your favourite music

  • Express gratitude, celebrate milestones and rituals that are meaningful to you and have experiences of awe

Hope this helps


Lifestylist Health & Wellness

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