Self-care sometimes gets a bad rap as being a luxury the average person doesn’t have time for. When you do make time for self-care, it’s easy to be misunderstood by others as selfish. But if you don’t make time for yourself, who will? Here are some reasons why self-care is so important and how you can fit it into your lifestyle.
Self-care doesn’t mean that you don’t care about others
Self-care can be seen by others as selfish because we’ve been taught to take care of others before we take care of ourselves. What many people don’t know is that self-care is incredibly crucial for a healthy life. Women, especially mothers, often are obligated to be caretakers, and shifting the balance from caring for everyone else to caring for yourself can feel uncomfortable for many women. If you don’t properly care for yourself, your body will let you know.
Self-Care Combats Chronic Stress
Everyone has times where they feel stressed, whether it be from work, school or home life. What most people don’t know is that stress can really harm your health. Research shows it weakens the immune system and inflames the body, making us more susceptible to colds, weight gain, sleep issues, stomach ulcers, depression, diabetes and heart disease.
Finding a self-care routine to implement during stressful times is essential to your health. Seeking out small ways to focus on your own needs is a great way to start prioritizing self care. Try reading a novel, taking a bath, calling a friend or doing some gentle exercise to lower your stress and center yourself.
Take Time Every Day
In order to start your self-care routine, you need to carve some time out of your day to pause or take a break.
There are many different activities that can make you feel at peace, such as taking a hike, gardening or walking on the beach. Take a lunch hour dance break for a few minutes to listen to your favorite music! You could even set aside 15 minutes before bed to read a book, take a bath or meditate. Another way to process your thoughts is to give journaling a go.
You don’t have to be a prolific writer to experience the benefits of journaling. Research has shown that it not only helps you process your feelings, but it also improves your physical health.
Practice Healthy Eating
Do you ever get food cravings when you are stressed out? While sometimes the only thing that will stop a craving is to get that one snack on your mind, intentionally creating a menu with lots of different foods is a great way to learn new recipes, get to know new ingredients, and keep things varied and interesting.
Make sure you're also drinking enough water and try not to over-use caffeine, as it can lead to trouble sleeping and increased stress.
Do It With Friends
Do you have friends who are also struggling to set aside time for themselves? Make it a standing date with Self-Care Saturday or Sunday! Your activities don’t have to last all day, but make sure you do something that makes you feel happy and taken care of, like a creative hour to write or paint, a walk on a local path, or a social call with a few friends to catch up and have some you-time.
The possibilities are endless.
Pay It Forward
Many people truly don't have the luxury of adding a regular self-care routine, so if you do, try to pay it forward. Reach out to your friends to check in and see if there's anything you can do to help them get the care they need. Maybe you could offer babysitting or treat them to their favorite home spa products to bring self-care more into their reach.
Taking care of your mind and body isn’t selfish, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about setting some time aside. It’s incredibly important to maintain a healthy lifestyle because it reduces stress, increases confidence, and gives you a more positive outlook on life.
Before you continue with your day ask yourself (and your friends!) this question: What do you need to be well today?