Self-care is not a new phenomenon and nor does it need to be difficult or complex or over the top.
Self-care is about making a conscious effort to notice your own needs and take steps to improve your physical/mental well-being. Whilst some may feel that the word self-care implies overindulgence it merely stands as a reminder that we have to put our own gas mask on before we can put the gas mask of others on.
When we make a deliberate or conscious choice to look after our well-being we are recognising that we should in no way feel bad about this decision. Just as a car needs an MOT and a service to keep on the road we humans also need a little TLC so that we run to our peak ability whilst remaining healthy. In a fast-paced world, it can be very easy to meet people and the modern world at its every point of demand. This can lead to us feeling physically and mentally and emotionally burnt out. In our modern systemic world, there is constant communication and we are always contactable and it can sometimes feel like there is little escapism from the demands it places upon us.
What are the examples of self-care?
Self-care should be an integral part of our way of being and the truth is there is no right or wrong. It’s about what you identify that makes your physical and mental/emotional well-being better. For some, this may mean time in nature, for others it may be a trip or going to the gym or a music concert, and for others, it may mean a day of putting the phone, computer and TV down and relaxing with a book beside a nice warm fire. It can be whatever you want it to be.
Some self-care ideas
- Invest some time in cooking a healthy meal
- Spend some time in nature
- Create a playlist of music suitable for your mood
- Take time to put down all devices and be present in the moment.
- Watch some of your favourite TV shows
- Take time to meet with your friends/family
- Say no when you need to
- Learn to know that you are enough
- Run a warm bath with some relaxing oils in
- Go for a bike ride or a run
- Get in the car and go for a drive and yes, if the mood takes you sing at the top of your lungs. I know I have been caught doing that once or twice and it gave both the other driver and me something to smile about. The memory still makes me smile to this day.
Ok then, so how does self-care help?
Self-care can help to lessen our anxiety and help boost our self-esteem. It can help us find a more mindful way of being and what I mean by that is that it can help us to be present and in the moment. It’s amazing what we miss when our minds and energies are invested into everything other than our own well-being.
Self-care can lead to improving the relationships we have with others too. Our loved ones always value a much less stressed version of us that is not thinly spread all over the place. When we are happier in ourselves then we radiate this and have tendencies to be happier with others too. We are able to be more tolerant and tend to cope better with whatever is thrown our way.
We all need drainage holes in our bucket otherwise the inevitable happens and we overflow. So, next time you feel like it may be selfish to allow the kids to watch TV for half an hour whilst you escape to a solitary warm bath for half an hour, or next time you feel guilty for meeting with your friends think again…….. You have to put your own gas mask on first as if you don’t, how can you help others.