We talk and hear about it a lot, but we don't usually practice it. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.
There’s always someone else who benefits from our attentions and intentions before “I” do. And why? Am “I” not as important as everyone and everything else?
The WHO defined “Self-care” in Geneva, 1998 as: “a life-long habit and culture. It is the action individuals take for themselves and their families to stay healthy and take care of minor and long-term conditions…”
It is a concept that is multidimensional, incorporating different aspects of our lives. We need to tackle self-care for our physical needs, mental needs, emotional needs and spiritual needs in order to feel whole. Indeed, it is often the case that a lack of self-care in one of these spheres impacts another.
Neglecting exercise in our routine can lead to low energy and weight gain - which impacts our perception of ourselves and leads to low self-esteem and poor confidence, affecting our communication and negatively affecting our relationships. All this can make you feel low mentally and cause depression.
Or maybe you’re thinking you can be a superwoman. Looking after so many needs at the same time: planning meals, cooking, shopping, medical, driving around to take care of errands or activities, organizing, laundry, and work! Always striving forward but you’re forgetting to fill your own cup.
And yet, despite the multidimensional nature of self-care, it is very subjective.
Self-care means and IS different for all of us.
Some tips for self-care:
Get some good sleep – don’t underestimate how integral this can be to a happier, healthier you
Eat healthier foods – what you put in really affects how you feel in general but also how you feel about yourself
Exercise – studies have shown the positive impact exercise has on alleviating depression and a depressed mood
Be more organized and schedule in some time for self-care – life is busy so make “me-time” a priority and set some time aside for this.
Just say NO! – it takes practice, but the power of no can be life-changing!
Good old fresh air and sunlight – getting outside has definite benefits both for our mental and physical well-being
Practice mindfulness – focus on the present … and do this without judging how you feel or what you are thinking
Meditate – take a few minutes every day and centre yourself to help alleviate stress and even achieve some emotional stability
Unplug yourself – taking time away from our devices can actually give your brain and body time to recharge
Let go of guilt! Remember that by taking care of “me”, we are inevitably helping us to be a better mother, partner, friend and colleague. And overall, we are just making ourselves happier. You’re not being self-indulgent!
2020/2021 has been a different and difficult year for all of us in different ways. It is ever more important for us to simply start being kinder to ourselves. Realize that we – “you” and “I” – are also important and deserving. Stand up and step up for ourselves. Know that you truly can’t take care of others if you are not taken care of.