5 Keys of Self-Care
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.
When we get stressed out at work, we often forget that self-care is essential in order to do our best job. Have you ever worked through your lunch hour thinking that will help you get more done? Have you noticed that this leads to a crash around mid-afternoon? It is important to take that break – even if it is only 15 – 20 minutes to allow your brain and body to refresh for new tasks. Too often these days we are being asked to “multi-task” (which is impossible by the way – you can only concentrate on one thing at a time). We are often so stressed we forget what we are doing and interruptions by others make things worse. We feel like we haven’t accomplished anything and if we have been interrupted several times by people, phone calls, or email alerts….we may not have.
You may be very good at taking care of others but how good are you at caring for yourself? Self-care is a component of our physical and mental wellness that we do not discuss enough. It requires us to be quite deliberate in how it is we go about taking care of yourself which can often feel selfish and, on some levels, overwhelming.
Taking Time Out
When was the last time you took a day or even a week off to decompress and explore the meaning of life? Heck, when is the last time you spent a couple of hours thinking about what you need?
We often store our days and guard them like gold, preserving them for times of illness or family vacation days. Self-care practitioners 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 you want to be for others.
How Do You Know if You’re Failing at Self-Care
Some tell-tale signs that you might be failing in the self-care department include feelings of being stressed, feeling burned out and poor physical health. Illnesses are often taxing on your body to the point you are forced to take time away from work, and it can often take quite a while to recharge after such an event.
Another sign that you may be failing in the realm of self-care is if you rarely allow others to do something for you. Many of us want to be “independent” with an “I can do it myself” attitude. But self-care can also mean having the skillset to enable others to take the reins of a situation while you take a break or focus on other tasks that need your attention.
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 in our capabilities. Have you noticed that taking on more than you can do for an extended period can wear you down, draining you, robbing you of your ability to be creative and effective in other ways ranging from the workplace to 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. (employers, family members, friends)
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 to ensure they don’t unknowingly push you to put their needs ahead of yours. You have to state your boundaries and keep them solid.
Make Sleep and Rest a Priority
Sleep may not seem like a stand-alone tenet, but don’t 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. Think how good you feel in the morning after a good night’s sleep. And taking a needed nap every now and then is also a good idea.
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 enjoy 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 to stay fit. Bodygroove has some excellent videos to help you care for your body.
Socialize with Others
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.
P.S. I have a Self-Care Journal for you. Just send me a message and I will send it to you.