When you hear the words ‘self care’, what springs to mind? A day at the spa? Going for a massage or a beauty treatment. Doing something that costs money and takes too much time?
This is a common misconception which means that many people do not make it a priority.
In summary, it is about taking care of yourself in ways that reduce stress and increase mental, emotional and physical health.
It doesn’t need to be expensive or even cost a penny. It can be as simple as going for a walk for a few minutes, a meditative practice or reading a book.
Different Self Care Practices
There are many different practices, so when deciding on what you will do, you need to think about:
- what speaks to you
- what do you need to replenish
- where do you need to restore physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
Some examples of self care include:
- reading a book
- taking a bath
- getting out in nature
- doing some yoga
- doing something creative, such as arts and crafts
- enjoying a hobby
- Just stopping and taking a few deep breaths
This is not an exhaustive list but I think it’s a good starting point to think about the sorts of things you can do to starting weaving self care into your day. I think we often know what we need but choose to ignore it because we are ‘too busy to stop’ or don’t ‘feel worthy’ of taking care of ourselves.
Why does self care matter?
Life is busy, stressful, we are on the go and non stop most of the time. Perhaps you have a stressful demanding job, perhaps you are a busy working mum? It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, we all need some down time to relax and unwind.
When we plan self-care into our day, it inspires us to take a break, walk away from things that don’t serve our best self and helps us learn to love ourselves.
For me personally, taking the time to look after myself doing something that feels good, makes me feel less resentful towards others, it helps me to feel more relaxed and calmer and therefore cope better with anything that is thrown my way. Most importantly it improves my relationship with my husband, my son, my family and friends because I generally just feel in a much better place!
When we don’t take the time to look after ourselves, what usually happens is that we reach a state of burnout which is a state of long term stress leading to physical and emotional exhaustion. Some of the signs of burnout can include:
- being tearful, crying for no reason
- feeling robotic as if you are just going through the motions every day
- feeling numb to life
- not being able to be ‘present in the moment’
- unable to concentrate
If you think you may already be there, on the way to burnout or not really sure, then please read more about the signs and symptoms in my other blog ‘Are you Burnt Out’?
Do something you enjoy
Before getting started, it is important to remember that self care is NOT about forcing yourself to do things that you hate doing!
It is not about doing something because it works for someone else.
Do something you enjoy and find what is unique to you and your needs at the time.