Self-care is exactly what it sounds like; the conscious effort to find the time and space to do things that support and improve your wellbeing. Sounds simple, yet many of us treat it as a luxury rather than a priority because we’re too busy, or feel to guilty, to focus on our own needs ahead of others. More often than not, it takes a wake-up call to notice the strain this kind of lifestyle takes.
While putting yourself first takes commitment, its one you will benefit from making. Here are some thought-starters about how you can start caring for yourself better.
It can be hard to prioritise, but planning regular ‘me-time’ and then guarding it with everything you have is imperative. You may decide to go for a long walk, take a hot bath or wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning to enjoy a cup of tea before the chaos starts. The more self-care time you work into your schedule, the better off you will be.
Our social community has a huge impact on our lives. Research shows that positive energy is contagious so surround yourself with people who value, support and encourage you – and cut out those who do not. Bringing the right people into your life and using your precious time and energy to build those relationships will do wonders for your wellbeing.
There is a lot on everyone's plate and most of us don’t stop long enough to actually think about what de-stresses us most, and reserve the time and energy to do it. It could be hitting a spin class at gym, making a to-do list, or reading a novel. Identify exactly what it is that tangibly reduces your stress levels the most, and do it when you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious.
Learning to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty is an important form of self-care. With so many things demanding our time and attention, it is important to realise your capacity and protect your boundaries. Saying no can be hard, especially for simple requests, but with a little practice you will quickly learn the art of politely declining when you need or want to.
It’s difficult to be happy and upbeat when you’re not feeling well or healthy. Do a quick audit by asking yourself the following questions, and resolve to address any areas that need focus.
Just because there are 24 hours in a day, doesn’t mean you should fill all 24 with things you need to do! In fact, being too busy or not having ‘enough time’ are clear signs that you need a break. Pressing pause every now and again is a crucial self-preservation practice, whether it’s going to your happy place with a cup of coffee or hiding from the kids in the bathroom – just make a point of sitting down on your own for a few minutes (at least) whenever you need it.