SELF CARE: an introduction
What does ‘Self Care’ mean to you? Perhaps it means something a little different to each of us. My definition is: to consider your own needs as a priority.
This may be a novel concept to many out there, who are used to putting others’ needs first. I have met many people who spend much of their time running around trying to meet other people’s needs or expectations, be it family, friends, a boss or co-workers. It may be a pattern started so long ago that it has simply become ‘normal’.
The concept of putting your own needs first may seem selfish to many, but I challenge that perception with this question: If you don’t take care of you, and your health starts to suffer, how will you take care of those that depend on you? How will you keep on top of your work if you’re not performing at your best, or even unable to go to work at all?
Self Care is not selfish - we care for ourselves because it fills our cup from which we serve others. It’s a cliché but you can’t serve from an empty vessel. When we look after ourselves, it enables us to keep performing our duties and living our lives in a sustainable and balanced way.
You may find this a helpful way to think of it: Care for yourself the way you would care for someone else. If a friend came to you and said they were feeling tired, overworked and overburdened, what would you suggest to them?
The relationship you have with yourself is reflected in all aspects of your life. When you start being kinder to yourself, you may just find it’s easier to be kind to the other people in your life too, and your relationships start improving. Maybe you don’t feel as stressed about things, because you’re not so hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Maybe your relationship with food improves because you don’t give yourself the guilt about your body shape.
Self Care is truly a practice, a constant process. Often it’s a process of unlearning, of unwinding years of hard-wiring, but every little bit counts. Practice daily. It’s what we do all the time that makes a real difference, not the things we do once in a while.
Here are some ways you might like to incorporate Self Care into your life:
*Schedule things in that give you a break, such as a half hour walk at lunch, a massage, a manicure, or even ten minutes to meditate
*Delegate some tasks, such as asking a friend to pick up the kids from school now and then
*Set your phone to Flight Mode when you go to bed, so you won’t be disturbed during the night
*Only say yes when you mean it
*If you have a tendency to overbook yourself on the weekend, schedule in some free time and stick to it
*Ask yourself if the food you consume is nourishing you, and if it isn't, consider how you might choose to incorporate more nutritious food choices into your daily life.
This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your healthcare professional for further information.
Richardson, Cheryl. The Art of Extreme Self-Care. Hay House, Inc, United States, 2009.