22 Apr Self-care isn’t selfish
SELF-CARE is a conscious (and this is key) decision to do things to take care of your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health.
It is not optional or a luxury, but a necessity.
Good self-care is vital to, amongst other things, maintaining good mental and physical health, reducing anxiety and stress, and allowing you to help and support others.
Although a simple concept in theory, self-care is often overlooked.
Especially by women, and mothers, who are generally the caregivers in our community, and often put others’ needs before their own.
But you can’t pour from an empty cup; you need to fill your own cup up before you can fill someone else’s.
It’s important to note, that everything that feels good, is not self-care.
We can be tempted to use unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as food or alcohol, to deal with the stress in our lives.
The difference is self-care activities are undoubtably good for you, and when practised right, self-care has long-term benefits for your body and mind.
Do not feel guilty (this is easier said than done) for making yourself a priority, and consciously choosing to add things to your daily routine that allow you to take care of you.
To adopt a sustainable self-care routine you need to find out what brings joy and balance to your life, and makes you feel centered.
Brainstorm what self-care practices you would like to incorporate into your life, and develop goals for how often and when – these keep you accountable.
After a week take time to reflect and evaluate how you feel; if you note positive benefits use this as fuel to maintain the behaviour.
Don’t be afraid to adjust and tweak your approach as you go.
Adding self-care routines is often trial and error, what works for you now might not work for you in six months or a year as your needs change over time.
- Drink more water – women should drink about 8 cups a day, while men should drink 10.
- Get enough sleep – healthy adults should average 7-9 hours of shut eye a night.
- Move more – aim for 30min of exercise a day.
- Organise a family dinner or games night.
- Spend face-time with friends over coffee or a drink.
- Join a social sports team (this is also a tick for physical self-care).
- Go to therapy. Reach out for help and support if you need.
- Learn a new skill like photography or drawing.
- Read a book or listen to music.
- Spend time in nature.
- Practice meditation.
- Incorporate regular acts of kindness into your day.
- Learn to say no to things.
- Practice meditation – learn to be with this moment.
- Practice gratitude and appreciation.