It feels as if the term self-care is banded around as often as gut health! What exactly is self-care, and why should we be doing it? Read on for more information and suggestions for how to bring self-care into your daily routine.
When asked the question, “do you take care of yourself”, it’s fair to say that the majority of us would answer “yes”. It’s when you’re asked, “in what ways?” that it’s not so clear.
Self-care. What is it?
Self-care can be defined as any activity that we undertake with the deliberate intention of taking care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It is rooted in any activity that nourishes or refuels us, has the capacity to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
Why is it important?
I think of self-care as “me time” and use it as a strategy to prevent burnout. So many of us give our care-taking energy to others and reserve none for ourselves. I see this in my own patterns of behaviour and far too often with my clients. Women are conditioned to be the care-givers within the family and the idea of self-care can sound selfish, time consuming and overwhelming.
The reality is that self-care is often at the bottom of our to-do lists. With no one holding us accountable, we fall further and further behind on caring for our own needs.
Self-care has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve productivity, boost mood, and lower your risk for health concerns associated with chronic stress, like heart disease and diabetes. Like with all new habits though you won’t see these benefits overnight. My advice is to start with small manageable goals and build from there.
How will I find time to add self-care to my schedule?
There are many activities that fall into the category of self-care. A great way to start is to sneak it in to your morning routine.
Bring more awareness into your morning. Consider, having a more mindful shower, taking the time to notice how you feel, taking care to choose the scents that you like, consider what colours you’d like to have in your day and reflect this in your clothes. Research suggests that caring about how you present your physical self to the world, has the added benefit of helping you to be more present in your body. It breeds self-respect, which buffers self-esteem.
Choose to eat the most nourishing, nutrient dense food. Our habits and beliefs about food can influence how we feel about ourselves, our self-control, our desires, and how other people may view or judge us. Giving yourself permission to properly nourish your body is integral to self-care.
Take time to slow down and savour the small things that bring you joy. It can be as simple as noticing a friendly face, a beautiful flower, the colour of the sky, a sunset, an act of kindness, a hug from a loved one.
Do one thing that makes you smile – every day. This can be a really simple thing like talking to a friend, playing with a pet, random acts of kindness, watching a funny TV programme, dancing, singing.
Learn to say “no”. It’s really empowering to learn that you can say no to something – a demand at work or home – and realise that people will still like and respect you.
Ask for help. Asking for help is often associated with weakness or incompetence. It is often accompanied by feelings of shame. We assume that other people are wiser and better. However, if we allow ourselves the chance to re-frame - it takes courage to show vulnerability; it takes courage to open up and receive help. In truth when asked, we realise that people like to help.
Want more? You can contact me for some 1-1 person-centred coaching. Book a free clarity call to see how best I can help ❤️