Let’s talk about self-care
Face it – you live in a busy world. We all do. We are busy with work, family, social events, maintaining the house, doing laundry, remembering to feed ourselves, and posting Instagrams of our dreamy life. Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. We might talk about self-care. If people were looking at those Instagrams it might even look we are really good at self-care. But how many of us feel like we do enough self-care that we don’t want any more of it? Not very many.
Why is this important?
- It helps us deal with stress. In a world where we all have a lot of things to pay attention to, and possibly even worry about, self-care allows us to prevent ourselves from burning out.
- It helps us avoid some illnesses. With the reduction of chronic stress, our bodies simply run better.
- It improves our self-esteem. Self-care allows us to step back and get to know ourselves better, which increases our self-confidence and esteem.
- It improves our creativity. By giving our brain a meaningful way to change direction it functions better and helps us do more and create more.
What are some examples of self-care?
It’s different for each person. For me, it’s going to the gym or doing a 10-minute meditation in the Headspace App. For my wife, it is sleeping in on the weekends. For one of my friends, it is going fishing with his son while, for another friend, it is going for a solo night time bike ride. For you, it might be sitting and meditating, or drinking your first cup of coffee on the porch as the sun hits you, or taking a nap during your lunch hour, or yoga, or really getting ‘into the zone’ as you cook dinner.
Anything that gets you moving, if you are used to sitting in front of a screen, is probably a good piece of self-care. Explore your neighborhood on foot, walk the dog, go somewhere with some greenery or check out your local zoo/botanical garden.
If you are a super-active person or are moving all day for work, anything that allows you to rest is probably a good piece of self-care. Meditate, lay down in a green space, stop and savor your next snack or beverage, or sit and just watch clouds go by.
- Make it doable. It shouldn’t require a lot of preparation or a perfect alignment of the stars for you to get some self-care.
- Get away from the screens. It is easy to think that we are ‘relaxing’ in front of the TV, or that we are happy looking at other people’s facebooks. In almost all cases though, that simply isn’t true. Tapping the ‘like’, watching another episode of Breaking Bad, or scrolling endlessly through news feeds don’t count as self-care.
- Disconnect from work. If you are like me, it is really easy to say things like “But I really like doing this part of my job, so if I do it in my off time it counts as self-care.” Sadly – this simply doesn’t work. It keeps my brain from getting the separation it needs to be healthy. Self-care should be totally disconnected from your job. If you are a chef in a restaurant, going home and cooking dinner for yourself doesn’t count as self-care.
Whatever it is that you do, do it intentionally. Spend some time thinking about what self-care might be best for you individually. Build it into the schedule like you would any other important meeting. Enjoy the process.