How good are you at practicing self-care? Self-care entails taking the time to manage our individual physical, mental and emotional wellness. Good self-care habits are essential in terms of how we view ourselves and our ability to interact with others. Self-care requires us to be quite deliberate in how it is we go about taking care of ourselves which can feel selfish and, on some levels, overwhelming.
When was the last time you took a day or even a week off to decompress and explore the meaning of life? We often store our days and guard them like gold, preserving them for times of illness or family vacation days. Self-care practitioners challenge themselves on this philosophy. They focus on finding a healthy balance that allows for self-preservation without sacrificing all of the other things they hold as being equally important such as family, career, and community.
Practicing self-care allows us to be there in the way we want to be for others.
How Do You Know if Your Lacking Self-Care
In our culture, self-care often takes a backseat to drive and ambition. There’s an assumed obligation to say "yes", because we don’t want to risk disapproval. We want to look like we have it all together, like we can handle everything that comes our way, all the time.
The problem with this is that it’s unrealistic. No one can handle it all, no matter how hard we try. Here are some revealing signs that you are lacking self-care:
You feel mentally or physically exhausted, overwhelmed or stretched too thin
Friends and family tell you you’re working too hard
You work 60-70 or 80-hour weeks
You miss out on important things you want to do
You get recurring colds or a chronic or serious illness
You shortchange sleep, regular meals or exercise to get more productivity into your day
Tenets of Self-Care
According to Psychology Today, proper self-care can create a pathway to you better managing your stress and ultimately living your best life. It can serve as armor that protects the energy that is necessary for your survival. Here are five tenets to put you on course to practicing better self-care.
Know When Just to Say ‘No’
As humans, we all have limits. Taking on more than you should for an extended period can wear you down, drain you, rob you of your ability to be creative and effective in other ways in the workplace and your home life.
Practicing self-care requires you to establish clear boundaries on behalf of yourself with others who may or may not have your best interests at heart.
Schedule Self-Care Activities
Self-care does not just happen spontaneously. You have to schedule the time and actively commit to seeing those plans through to the end. Additionally, you may have to ensure others are aware of your plans so they don’t unknowingly push you to put their needs ahead of your own.
Make Sleep and Rest a Priority
Sleep may not seem like a stand-alone tenet, but you should not underestimate the necessity of recharging your body. Sleep, rest, relaxation, and meditation can all contribute to replenishing your body and giving it a much-needed restoration period.
Additionally, it helps to keep your mind sharp and can also aid in allowing you to sustain a healthy mood and outlook on life and interacting with others.
If fitness is not your strong point, look for ways to naturally incorporate some form of fitness into your day. Challenge yourself to find something you find joy in doing whether it's going for walks, swimming, kickboxing, dancing around your home solo or finding a Zumba class to get you moving. Self-care is not only about getting adequate rest, taking a day off or keeping your doctor’s appointments. It’s also about helping your body stay active and fit.
Socialize with Others
Self-care can also be about tending to those relationships that make us feel good. Healthy relationships are essential for our emotional and physical well-being. We all get busy from time to time and incorporating our friends and family into our busy schedule can seem impossible. However, our connections are a must-have. Look for ways to nurture those relationships –even if it means becoming the organizer of those get-togethers.
Take the time today to assess your life and whether or not you are practicing self-care. You don’t have to make sweeping changes all at once if you find a few areas are lacking. Target a single area at a time and make small adjustments. You will be amazed by the overall improvement that begins to take hold of your life.
You can do it!