WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
We all know that we should eat properly, get enough sleep and exercise, brush our teeth twice a day, bathe/shower etc. This is all part of self-care, but really looking after yourself includes much more. It means that you have time to unwind, treats to look forward to, the ability to meditate, reflect, enjoy music and be yourself. It also means being able to say ‘no’ when necessary, create proper personal boundaries and experience fulfillment.
Often we aren’t encouraged to care for ourselves. Work, duty and doing things for other people are considered more important. However, if you don’t love yourself then all that you do tends to be second-rate, because it does not come from the heart. So put your own welfare firmly at the top of your list.
Most of us, if we are honest, don’t care properly for ourselves. If this applies to you, what are your reasons for not nurturing the most important person in your life?
All of these reasons are connected to the first – being too busy, or at least not having the motivation and focus needed to look after yourself. None of them are good reasons. In fact there cannot possibly be a good reason for inadequate self-care. So make the change today, commit to looking after yourself and see how much things improve.
Of course you are busy. Most of us these days are very busy and even if we’re not, there always seems to be some distraction. However, what you need to realise is that however crazy your life may be, taking care of your well-being is essential. Once you accept that there are no excuses, you will find time. It is a priority.
If you do not take care of yourself a time will come when you are simply no longer able to function the way you do now. Your efficiency will decline and you will be unable to deliver as well on all the other commitments that you now consider so crucial.
Here are some useful tips to help you fit in self-care;
This is a time when you feel the worry – and do it anyway! After a while you’ll get in the habit of looking after yourself and the concerns will fade. You’ll enjoy feeling so much better, and realise it’s best for everyone.
But initially, you’re a work in progress. You have these thoughts about being selfish, but they come from your conditioning, or lack of self-esteem. They do not come from the deepest part of you. Accept them, but don’t let them control you.
Self-care is not the same as ‘selfishness’. Selfishness is an out-of-balance preoccupation with your own wishes, even when this hurts others and even deprives them of what’s rightfully theirs. Healthy self-care just means what it says. Rest assured, when you truly love yourself you give out love to the world in spades!
Consider this article as a big reminder and wake-up call! Forgetting self-care is like forgetting to put fuel in your car – not a good idea.
Now you know how vital self-care is you are on the right track. You have two steps to take. The first is to decide what forms of self-care you’re going to choose. Maybe you will go to a yoga class, have massages and invite friends round for a chat. It’s up to you, but make your choices, and ensure they bring you relaxation and renewal, and that you feel plugged in to something greater than yourself
Step number two appears in the tips in the first section – put self-care times in your diary. In fact, make sure you check out all the tips in this section. Sorted!
Unfortunately self-care isn’t taught in schools and many of us were brought up with beliefs that run counter to self-care, so it may not be second nature.
Aside from the physical basics, like nutrition, exercise and sleep, we all need a sense of meaning, time to connect with our deeper selves, time to connect with other people, time for ‘play’ (however we define it) and simple relaxation.
Ask yourself about subjects like your spirituality, the fun and hobbies you have, the opportunities you have for just doing as you please. Ask yourself what gives you satisfaction, makes you smile and feel good, gives you a wider perspective on the world and strengthens loving bonds.
All of these factors need time, and planning. You can experiment and change course, if you like, because you may need a while to discover what you need. Decide what matters to you and start factoring it in – today!
Self care is truly essential, and we have looked at several barriers to self care, such as lack of time, a belief that it’s selfish, and confusion about what self-care truly is. Now you are aware of the importance of nurturing yourself, you probably need further guidance on how to manage your life and open the door onto greater harmony and fulfillment. Your first, and most important step will be to phone one of our helpful Readers, who can point you in the right direction, for your own individual needs. Start now!
PUBLISHED: 09 September 2016