The concept of “self-care” has taken the wellness world by storm in recent years, with many embracing it as an essential tool for growth and happiness. When we’re mindful of taking care of ourselves, we can positively impact our attitude, health and energy.
A graphic created by Case Western University gives a substantive definition:
“We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance.”
Self-care can therefore be viewed as a form of preventative healthcare. Taking time to unwind daily helps prevent a build-up of negative feelings, with our bodies being healthier, and our minds more at peace. In your daily schedule, see where you can fit in a walk, a mini massage, connect with a friend, or any other appealing self-care practice. It need not be time-consuming, and will be a welcome energy boost.
A good way to cope with frustration and stress at work is simple meditative breathing and, if possible, a catnap of 20 – 30 minutes to energize you and make you more productive during the second half of the day. Avoiding technology is becoming increasingly challenging. If we stare at a computer screen for the better part of the day, it’s imperative to give our eyes a break and keep our bodies nourished with brain-boosting food.
Sometimes it’s difficult to regularly make time for loved ones without getting wiped out. It’s vital to know when to say no. If feeling too tired to go out, why sacrifice your needs? True friends and family will still be there and, moreover, will want you to be healthy, as opposed to stressed.
Having a vision for daily, weekly or monthly goals prevents you from getting into unproductive cycles. Having the right balance of planned activities, while remaining flexible, is crucial for alleviating stress and anxiety. While scheduling helps make you personally accountable, it also allows you to set aside time for the beach or watching a movie, for instance.
There is a distinction between “recreational self-care” and “transformative self-care”, which produces long-term growth and inner freedom that revitalizes us, and is an investment in our well-being and sustained happiness.
Some guidelines are outlined below:
Practice daily silence: This calls for a conscious drawing from our original energy source to transcend mental and physical limitations and renew our capacity for love, patience and understanding towards ourselves. Give yourself 20 minutes of daily silence to pray, meditate, or just “be”.
Be flexible: Sometimes we get so fixated on doing something in a particular way that we stunt our potential to take a different path to reach the same goal. Experiment with your self-care practices and be creative with what works for your individual situation.
Do what you can: This means setting modest goals and being realistic about what you can accomplish. Every day will bring different moods and responsibilities. Adapting to your needs at the moment is, in itself, a self-care practice.
Cultivate true friendships: We commonly maintain unhealthy, stagnant friendships because we don’t want to venture into unfamiliar territory. Select friends who encourage you to grow, especially in tough times.
Seek help when necessary: Don’t saddle yourself with more than you can reasonably handle, and then complain about it, hoping people will realize your distress. Trying to find solutions, change or reverse things uses up a substantial amount of mental and emotional energy.
An objective ally can help us make sense of and navigate our circumstances. So share your burden with an experienced professional and see the difference in your life!
Make health-nurturing choices: Our food impacts us on a cellular level. Since our moods, energy, and vitality are intrinsically linked to what we consume, this also plays a role in long-term transformation. Start with small changes, such as staying hydrated, adding vegetables in the colours of the rainbow to your diet, and eating whole foods.
When our energy and mood improve, we begin to perceive our circumstances differently, and are more tempered. In this way, we develop the fortitude to tackle other long-term changes.
Listen to your Higher Power: Listen to what your self is telling you it needs and respect what you hear. It may be saying it’s time to speed up, or slow down and take a day off to reset. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself and learn to accept this unique phenomenon.
Don’t expect metamorphosis overnight. The journey will not be an easy one, but, if we really want change, we will make the time and take the steps to make it happen.
(Rosemarie Layne, who is certified in 2nd Degree Reiki, is a holistic health advocate and owner of Rose’s Wellness Hub.)