The modern woman finds herself juggling work, home, leisure, and other aspects of life. But dividing your time between your personal life and your career can be overwhelming. With our busy schedules, we tend to put taking care of ourselves at the bottom of the list of our priorities. However, we all know this does not do us any good.
Overlooking self-care has real consequences to our overall being. Our body, mind, and even personal relationship and professional life can be placed in jeopardy. By neglecting self-care, we are actually creating more problems surrounding ourselves.
What Is Self-Care?
In general terms, self-care refers to everything you do intentionally to promote your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. We have to be clear about one thing, though. Self-care is not the same as being “selfish” or “self-indulgent.”
Self-care essentially means doing the things that promote your overall well-being and adds value to your life. Self-care refers to taking care of one’s health to be a functional, healthy individual who can be there for others who also need help.
It is also necessary to emphasize that when we do self-care, we have to do it deliberately. This means a conscious effort to improve our well-being. Acts of self-care could be anything from not replying to a work email during the weekend or taking that long, overdue vacation.
Practicing self-care promotes a good relationship with yourself. Learn to feel good about who you are and what you are capable of. As the saying goes, you cannot give what you do not have.
Though some people may think self-care is a selfish act, it is exactly the opposite. As you pay enough attention to yourself, you become the best version of everyone around you.
Ways to Practice Self-Care
You do not necessarily have to book a month-long trip to some tropical island or immediately hand in a two-week notice to your boss to practice self-care. These are some little steps you can take to practice self-care.
1. Get Enough Sleep
The value of getting enough sleep can never be overemphasized. With the busy lives we lead, we often compromise our sleep schedules. With the deadlines we have to beat and the responsibilities we need to fulfill, most of us are just trying to get by each day.
Countless studies have already shown that lack of night-time sleep leads to various health issues ranging from obesity and heart disease to depression and anxiety. It also causes a person to lose focus and creativity.
Research from the National Institute of Mental Health also found that those who are sleep deprived are 40 times more likely to develop depression.
So for tonight, why not start fixing your sleep routine?
2. Learn to Say No
Learning to say no is empowering. It is a radical form of self-care, as it teaches you to put yourself over and above career and relationships.
While we have deadlines to meet, conversations to have, and stuff to tick off our to-do list, we have to put boundaries if things get too overwhelming.
When pressure seems to surmount and everything seems urgent, we tend to forget our priorities. Spreading ourselves too thinly leaves us feeling tired and empty by the end of the day.
If you do not want to engage in a conversation after a tiring day at work, tell that person. Decline an invitation to party on a Saturday night if you feel like just staying home and watching a movie.
Practice saying no and setting boundaries. You are not a human doormat that anyone could just trample on.
3. Dissociate from Media Now and Then
Just as important it is to say no to people, your need to dissociate from technology now and then.
If you think about it, most of our waking hours are spent on our phones, laptops, and other electronic devices. Be honest with yourself. The first thing you do upon waking up is to check your phone. Before you fall asleep, you also catch yourself holding your phone.
Let go of this habit, and limit your screen time instead. Practice turning off your screens at least an hour before your set schedule for bedtime. As the blue lights of our gadget’s screen encourage wakefulness, go old fashion and read a book instead.
4. Pamper Yourself
Invest in yourself. One form of self-care is pampering yourself. Though it does not necessarily lead to a huge overall health improvement and well-being as working out and healthy dieting does, it offers a way for our bodies to relax from stress.
So take yourself for a relaxing spa treatment, have your manicure and pedicure done, get a new hairstyle, or go shopping. You have been withholding yourself too much from enjoying these luxuries. Give yourself a break.
Self-care does not stop with just taking care of our bodies. It goes beyond that. True self-care is being mindful of what we do and do only those that best support our well-being.