What is Self-care (or Self Care)?
I am not just talking about going for expensive spa treatments or a yoga retreat in a remote hilltop in India. It can be any – ANY – activity that we do that takes care of our mental, emotional and physical health. It could be getting a haircut and taking a shower, or it could be meditating and self-reflection, or it could be cutting off harmful relationships and setting boundaries within our relationships. It is especially important to take care of ourselves, so that we are capable to care for others.
Given self-care’s broad spectrum, it can sometimes be difficult to know when we need to attend to our own care especially during times of stress. In fact, most people end up focussing their care and attention on others first (any mothers reading? This means you!), but without caring for ourselves foremostly we risk being unable to be there for our partners, kids, families and friends. It can all become too much.
So, I find that actually sitting down and writing a self-care plan can help me to remember what I need to do for me; whether it’s something big that requires time, or something small that I can do quickly to relax and rejuvenate when I need it most.
Wait, why is self-care so important?
It may sound like an obvious question; but how well can you care for others if you haven’t looked after yourself? Just like in an airplane safety presentation – you need to adjust your own oxygen mask before attending to others.
If self-care is neglected what happens? Handling stressful situations becomes difficult, our coping mechanisms can start to fail, resilience levels drop, and our physical health can start to feel the toll. We start to have feelings of resentment towards those taking our energy and we lose sight of what makes us happy.
You’re allowed to spend time on YOU. So, make sure you do.
Sure, I take a shower every day and spend time with my dogs of an evening, why would I need to put this into a plan? It just happens…
But when we get busy at work or with the kids, we might end up skipping that gym session, cancelling lunch with friends, not picking up that book we were enjoying for a week or two and even end up skipping meals or eating unhealthy quick options. Having a plan in place, maybe stuck to the fridge, gives us permission to keep those items in our daily or weekly agenda.
Above is an example of my self-care plan. It starts with focussing first on my goals; I want to be fit happy and healthy for my family for many years yet, and able to successfully run my business providing care to my clients. How do I do this? By focussing on activities around my mind, body and spirit. Some of these take time and planning, others I can more easily include in my daily life whilst knowing they are doing me good and giving myself permission to spend time on these. Lastly I recognise those around me that support and help me when I need it. It’s a two way street.
Don’t wait. Start today.