Over the years we’ve seen a lot of different health trends. Fad diets, wearable technology that tracks your every movement, bulletproof coffee (I’m admittedly a follower on that trend), and now…self care.
It seems like everybody and their mother is talking about self care and how important it is these days these days. It’s a hot buzzword, for sure! But is it more than just a health trend?
What is self care?
Self care can be defined as care given to yourself, by yourself. Pretty simple, huh? It’s noticing you’re hungry and giving your body the foods it needs for nourishment. It’s noticing you’re sleepy and going to bed. It’s noticing you’re thirsty and drinking a glass of water.
When we take care of our most basic needs, essentially we’re practicing self care.
But it goes deeper than that. It includes noticing when stress is beginning to take over our lives and taking a mental time out. It includes acknowledging how uncomfortable that extra weight is making us feel and taking the steps to do something about it. It involves respecting our feelings and surrounding ourselves with people that make us feel good.
Why is self care important?
It could be argued that we really only need to cover our basic needs in order to survive: food, water, sleep, and oxygen. A roof over our heads would be good too, but at the end of the day we’re a resourceful bunch. We could probably make do without.
But today’s environment is vastly different from that of our early human ancestors. We have careers that demand high performance. Families that demand feeding and chauffeuring. Phones and emails and text messages that demand responses. All. the. time.
When we effectively practice self care, we not only look after the needs that allow to survive, but we also look after the needs that allow us to handle all of these other responsibilities – primarily, the needs of our physical and mental well-being.
The effects of chronic stress are no secret these days. Weight gain, inability to sleep, hormonal imbalances, frequent illnesses, anxiety, digestive issues, autoimmune conditions, joint aches, isolation, decreased sex drive…..I could go on and on.
There are a lot of illnesses and diseases we can’t prevent. But there are steps we can take to reduce our risk of stress-related illnesses, and they all begin with self care!
What does self care look like?
Self care looks different for everyone. What calms one person may irritate another. Some common forms of self care include:
- Taking a hot, relaxing bath
- Exercising at a level of intensity that feels good for you
- Eating foods that nourish your body
- Eating foods that nourish your soul (in moderation, of course! 😉 )
- Taking a mid-day nap
- Enjoying an afternoon at the spa or giving yourself an at-home spa treatment
- Picking up a new hobby you’ve wanted to try, like knitting or playing a new instrument
- Practicing meditation, praying, or writing down the things you’re grateful for
The type of self care activities you engage in should give you a bit of a mental time-out from the hustle and bustle of daily life and should leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.
I’ve admittedly fallen behind in the self care department quite a few times these last couple of years. Those thoughts of “EVERYTHING MUST GET DONE NOW” can get pretty loud in this little brain of mine.
“I don’t have time to take a break!”
“I can’t afford to say no to this opportunity!”
“I HAVE to stay up until midnight to work on this project!”
At some point or another, my body has always FORCED me to make the time. Nervous breakdowns, frequent anxiety attacks, and complete exhaustion are just a few of the things I’ve enjoyed as a result of neglecting my well-being 😉
Far too often it’s not that we don’t know we should be taking these breaks – I’m sure you know just as well as I do how important it is! It often stems from a deeper rooted issue – a feeling of not being enough.
“I’m not ____ enough, so I need to do _____ now.”
“So-and-so is going to think I’m not _____ if I don’t do ______.”
And so on.
I want you to know that you ARE enough. You ARE worth the time it takes to set aside a few minutes for yourself each day. Your health is MORE important than deadlines, obligations, and commitments. I can appreciate the fact that reading a blog post from some random chick might not be enough to make you believe that right off the bat, but I strongly encourage you to repeat these things to yourself each day. You will begin to believe them, I promise 😉
If you’re ready to begin taking action on improving your well-being and aren’t sure where to start, I invite you to check out this free guide I put together about self care – what it is, how to do it, and what to do. It also includes a free tracking sheet so you can stay accountable with your self care activities for 30 days and beyond!
Just click right here and you’ll be directed to the guide – no opt-in required 🙂
So tell me friends – is self care a regular part of your routine? Have you ever experienced the effects of a lack of self care? Any self care activities you totally love and want to share with us?