Self-care: we often hear about this and know it is important but seldom practice it. Some of us even look at it as self-indulgence or vanity. We know it is important, yet there is a reluctance or even a lack of motivation to make it a priority.
Do you often make self-care a last priority thanks to your daily routine? If you answered yes, then this self-care guide is for you.
This is a simple guide that will help you understand self-care beyond just skin or hair care and how it is important for the well-being of our body and peace of mind.
Let’s explore self-care, its benefits and tips on how to incorporate self-care into daily routines.
Why is Self-care Important?
After boarding a flight, the cabin crew always give instructions about safety. And they always talk about securing your own oxygen mask before helping others. Why do you think that is? When you tend to someone before taking care of yourself then you will pass out and will be unable to help the other person and yourself. This applies to self-care as well.
There are many phrases and proverbs that talk about the selfless sacrifice of one’s own needs for the benefit of others. While the sentiment behind the phrase is admirable, the analogy itself is not entirely accurate and oftentimes, its meaning is taken too literally and out of context.
A candle burns itself to provide light, but it eventually burns out and is no longer useful. Similarly, if we constantly sacrifice our own needs and well-being for others, we may end up burning out and becoming ineffective in helping others. Furthermore, self-sacrifice should not be romanticized or viewed as the only way to help others.
Prioritize your self-care and well-being to have the energy to help others effectively. Practising self-care can help reduce stress, promote mental and physical health, and enhance our ability to help others in the long run. Make it a habit to practice mindful self-care. It might just become a good habit bound to make you feel great about yourself. Check out our blog on How I found that one life-changing habit here.
An All Too Common Self-Care Tale
You are a busy working professional who spends most of the day sitting at a desk. You rarely take breaks, work through lunch, and often stay late to meet deadlines. Your lifestyle is mostly sedentary. You also have a social life, your evenings and weekends filled with meeting friends and family, social activities, events and house chores. Add to this binging on new shows over OTT.
If you are new to this, you may feel energized and productive, but over time, neglecting self-care takes its toll. You start to feel tired, unmotivated, and unable to concentrate. You experience mood swings and become irritable or anxious. The lack of sleep, rest and quality ‘me’ time beings to show badly. Eventually, you start to experience physical health issues such as headaches, back pain, and digestive problems.
Without Self-care, we experience a range of negative effects
With round-the-clock schedules and never-ending deadlines, self-care is pushed back to the very end of our to-do list; its importance is taken for granted.
- Burnout: Prolonged stress leads to burnout, a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Burnout can leave us feeling drained, unmotivated, and unable to perform our daily tasks.
- Anxiety: A lack of self-care can contribute to anxiety and depression. Without proper self-care, we can become overwhelmed and unable to cope with the demands of daily life.
- Declining Physical Health: Without regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and sufficient rest, we may experience fatigue, weight gain, and a range of physical health issues.
Self-care is Self Preservation
There is an increasing awareness of physical and mental well-being in recent years. This has led to self-care becoming popular, and for good reason too. Taking care of ourselves, both physically and mentally, is crucial to our overall well-being. Yet, this is something that bears repeating.
Many people struggle to prioritize self-care because there is life itself to deal with – everyday worries, chores, neverending to-do lists and sundry. However, taking care of yourself will give you the strength, energy and mindset to face the stresses that life throws at us. It can help you feel more energized and productive and give us that connection we desperately need.
A Few Simple Tips for Practicing Self-Care
Incorporating self-care into your daily routines doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Here are some super easy tips you can start with.
- Make Time for Yourself: Schedule ‘me time’ for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. Use this time to do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading, taking a walk, or practising mindfulness.
- Get Enough Sleep: Nothing like a good night’s sleep of seven to eight hours. Make that your aim along with establishing a regular bedtime routine. Avoid screens during bedtime.
- Exercise Regularly: Make exercise a regular part of your routine, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk. Exercise releases endorphins, an amazing mood booster that reduces stress. Check out our Easy Guide to Exercise at Home here.
- Switch to a Healthy Diet: Opt for a well-balanced diet that comprises an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues.
- Connect with Loved Ones: Stay connected with friends and family, even if it’s just a phone call or text message. Social support helps improve mood and reduce stress.
- Practice Mindfulness: Make mindfulness a part of your daily routine by integrating practices such as meditation or deep breathing. These practices can aid in reducing stress levels and enhancing mental clarity.
- Follow self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and treat yourself with the same care and compassion you would offer to a friend. Practice positive self-talk and avoid self-criticism.
- Take breaks: It’s important to take regular breaks, it helps give your mind the rest it needs. Go for a walk, take a nap, or engage in a hobby that you enjoy.
Remember: Self-care is not Selfish
In today’s fast-paced world, self-care is just as important as catching up on our busy lives. Taking care of yourself enables you to be more present and effective in your personal and professional lives, even enhancing your ability to help others. It’s essential to identify what works best for you and incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine.
So, don’t wait until burnout. Take the time to start caring for yourself today and feel good mentally, emotionally and physically.