This past Sunday I wrote a blog post about becoming acquainted with self-care and why it is important to include it in your everyday life. In case you aren’t familiar with the term ‘self-care’, self-care is described by the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health’.
Self-care is a practice that should be included in each and every day, and can rage from a wide variety of activities. From stretching, to breathing, to showering to going to the gym to cleaning out a room in your house, self-care has a variety of different meanings for different people, as well as for different levels of functioning. Self-care is meant to preserve your well-being and add value to your health.
Just as easy as self care is to incorporate into your day, it’s also just as difficult to not do. Often from my own personal experiences, I have noticed that it’s easier to neglect self-care when I am tired, stressed or sick. Under those conditions, I may not want to go the extra mile for something as simple as some stretching, or I may not want to go to the gym if I’m overly stressed out.
Missing one day at the gym isn’t the end of the world, nor is pushing cleaning aside and letting it all pile up. The problem arises when it’s a compounded effect. Missing the gym for weeks on end, letting the laundry pile up, not using techniques for stress management and continually growing more stressed. The compound effects of not performing regular acts of self-care can be detrimental to your mental and physical well-being. Frankly, you are cheating yourself of the benefits achieved from performing these activities of self-care.
Really, the only person you’re cheating is yourself. This should be enough of a reason to sit back, assess your current lifestyle, and look for the holes and cracks you appear to be slipping through. Is it a time constraint? Is it a mental or emotional constraint? Are you even able to pin point what it is that’s holding you back from taking care of yourself?
Often we are diligent about completing tasks for other people and ensuring the people we love are cared about. You may find yourself going to work and putting in 8 or more hours, to come home to a family that needs you to be present with them up until it’s bedtime. Perhaps you are the sole caregiver for a loved one. Perhaps you have many commitments outside of your job that all require a high level of presentness. Whatever the case may be, you may find that you just don’t have the time or willpower to give yourself the care you desperately need to preserve your well-being.
This is where I want to change that mentality. You deserve the love you give so freely to other people. Yes, you heard me right. You deserve to love and care about yourself as much as you love and care about everyone else. In fact, you need to make yourself a priority because in order for people to rely on you, you need to be ‘you’. If we don’t take care of ourselves and set boundaries and limitations, we can’t be the best us we can be. If we don’t put our foot down and take time to improve our own well-being, we can’t fully be there for someone else.
It is so important to take time out of our daily lives to nourish ourselves and our well-being. This may include, but not be limited to food itself. We need to nourish ourselves with nutritious food. We need to nourish our souls by taking time to do things that set our souls on fire. We need to nourish our minds by challenging ourselves to make the time for ourselves, to make ourselves the priority. All of this can be achieved through sitting down and really looking at our own lives. Do you make time for yourself to complete tasks that make YOU feel good? Do you make time for yourself to do activities that PRESERVE your well-being, instead of overtaxing or straining it? Do you take the time to get in touch with yourself and find out what it is that you need to reset?
It may be as simple as going for a daily walk. For some it’s a hot shower, for some its half an hour alone with their thoughts. Some find solace in cleaning and organizing, others through sweating it out at the gym. What brings you peace of mind? What brings you closer to a calm state of mind, and are you incorporating it into your schedule? Are you making time to do the things YOU need to do to provide yourself with the self-care you NEED and DESERVE?
Through reading this I want to ignite a spark of inspiration. I want you to sit back and look at your current life. I want you to be honest with yourself and really determine whether you are incorporating self-care into your daily life. It’s not a test or a quiz, more of a challenge to yourself to see whether you are giving yourself the best care you truly deserve.
What techniques do you currently do for self-care? Do you need some ideas for self-care? Let me know in the comments!