These days it’s all to easy to get caught up chasing career goals, taking care of those close to us, keeping in touch with friends and just basically doing the day to day stuff that we need to do keep all the balls in the air. So much so, that we can get caught up being busy all the time that we completely forget to take care of ourselves.
Each day we’re emptying the tank and depleting our resources and before long we’re suffering from physical, mental, and emotional problems. We’re overwhelmed. We’re exhausted. We’re burnt out and the stress begins to take its toll as our tank is running on empty. We have nothing left to give. Not to those we care about, and not to ourselves.
I know. You’re busy. You work, take care of kids or aging parents (or both), and have a million things to do every day, so who has the time for self-care?
The truth is you need to make time to take better care of yourself. Neglecting to take time out, slow down and to take a few moments for yourself to recharge your batteries an re-fill your tank is not only essential to your healthy and wellbeing, but to your sanity.
If you don’t take care of yourself it won’t be long before you drop from exhaustion, succumb to burnout are walking around in a mental fog, and become resentful, angry and incapable of not only enjoying your life, but of getting anything done.
Taking good care of yourself and having a self care routines in place has so many flow on effects. You’ll feel more positive because you’ll have something nice to look forward to, you’ll have more confidence because you’re doing things that make you feel good, you’re immune system will get a boost because you’re temporarily pressing pause on stress and anxiety, your relationships will improve because your needs are being met, and you’ll generally be more productive because you’re feeling happier and in control.
But What Is Self-Care….Really?
Simply put, self-care is the act of taking care of yourself. It is doing exactly what you need to do to feel your best each and every day. This includes mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Whilst there’s no debating self care will mean different things to each of each, there are some fundamental principles that underpin good self care practices. At its essence self care is all of these things are so much more:
Self care is taking personal responsibility for one’s own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health
- Self care is good for your mind, body, spirit, life, and soul
- Self care is NOT selfish
- Self care is a habit that makes you flourish, not just function
- Self care is a choice
- Self care is a preventive measure
- Self care is imperative to your well-being
- Self care requires a deliberate effort and a little bit each day
- Self care is about making yourself a priority
- Self care is a lifelong practice
- Self care is empowering
- Self care is a lifestyle
- Self care is a ritual
HOT TIP: Self care is often many small things that come together to create a personal and customized self care plan specific to the individual. Whether your self care consists of 2 or 3 things you do on a regular basis or 10 things you do on a regular basis, it’s yours. Commit to it. Treasure it. And don’t let anybody tell you it’s not important.
Essential Questions to Understand Your Self Care Needs
Working out what you, personally need to meet your self care needs does require a little bit of inward looking. Ideally you’ll want to get clarity on what will help you the most to keep that sense of balance, calm and lightness and asking yourself some questions may help.
- 3 words to describe how I feel mentally
- 3 words to describe how I feel physically
- The last time I did something for myself
- What are my non negotiables this week
- What can I eliminate from my schedule this week
- Where can I slow down/take a step back from
- Who can help with things that need to get done so I can free up some space
- Where can I fit in some exercise this week, even if its only small
- What’s one small change I can make to my diet this week
- What’s one thing I’ve been wanting to do and putting off that I will do this week
- What things make me feel good and help to clear my head
Answering these questions will help you to gain clarity on what has to be done this week and what can be let go or done by someone else. It also helps to highlight gaps in your schedule that could be for self care and what you could fill those gaps with.
The Wrap Up: Have you been taking care of yourself lately? Is there room for improvement? For myself, self care is something I think about often as I’ve struggled with severe stress and at times overwhelm and anxiety. I know that to keep my sanity I have to have regular self care rituals in place and one of the ways I do that is to prioritise my self care even if that means taking things off my to do list so I can fit it in.
As I’ve recently learnt no-one is going to give me a medal for burning myself out going to the enth degree to get “everything” done. This is no medal, burn out is real and “everything” never ends. So the only solution, for me at least, is to put self care at the top of my list and everything else will get done when it gets done…generally better because I’m taking care of myself.
I'd love to know what self care means to you! Leave me a comment below.