Kids, meals, husband (or wife), errands, trip planning, work, laundry, grocery shopping, friend outings (if we’re lucky) and forced exercise (summer’s coming). This is typically what our list of to-do’s look like. But wait – did you notice anything? What about us? Do our needs (or wants) ever come in?
Most of us have spent the past two months focusing on undoing the “damage” from the holidays and a long winter, but what’s sometimes overlooked during these redo weeks is something that’s needed not only during this time, but all year round. It’s simple, yet somehow we forget about it, or we feel guilty taking time for it. Oh yeah, sometimes we think that we don’t have the time for it, either. A recent experience forced me to step back and gave me new perspective, and I’m a new believer and am changing my ways based on how good it has made me feel Here’s why you need self care and 6 ways that you can enjoy it.
What is self care?
I hesitated to even include this section, because the title seems obvious; fluffy and almost pampering, right? But wait – there’s actually more to it. And turns out, it’s pretty important. Our lives are getting busier and busier. Whether you’re single or married, with our without kids, the responsibilities, requirements and pressures to constantly go and perform are growing to epic proportions. There’s a breaking point, and even a point before this where we face burn-out, our output is lower than our abilities and our hearts are just not in it. Every felt like this?
Turns out self care is a pretty obvious term, but there’s so many different ways to do it. Sure, taking time for a relaxing bath (or on a busy day, even getting a shower in) count, but there are numerous other areas, as well. There are actually 6 areas of self care to consider. Let’s take a look:
6 Types of self care
Physical – Does this one even need an explanation? Probably not, but there may be more ways to do self care of the physical self than what you realize. Here are some of the many ways:
- Adequate sleep
- Healthy meals
- Taking time off
- Digital detox
- Bubble bath
- Taking a walk
- Dental care
Mental – the mind is constantly going. We are bombarded with information for most of our waking hours, so it’s beneficial to take a step back and quiet the mind. Break up the monotony and instead focus on you.
- Read a book
- Lean a new skill
- Eating mindfully
Personal – this area is quite wide, with numerous options to choose from. Think about yourself when setting up intentional actions for caring for yourself.
- Spend time with family
- Spend time alone
- Make a vision board
- Plan goals
- Connect with someone new
Professional – Talk about an area that we often neglect. Setting boundaries, taking breaks and helping yourself grow professionally are imperative. Here are some ways to practice self care professionally.
- Pursue meaningful, enjoyable work
- Take an actual lunch break
- Connect with colleagues outside of work
- Leave work at work
- Be okay saying no
- Set boundaries
- Celebrate professional successes
Emotional – emotions change from moment to moment, depending on the situation. We can practice emotional self-care by coming back to the present moment and releasing or letting go of negativity, and opening ourselves up to the positive.
- Respect yourself
- Share your feelings
- Practice forgiveness
- Watch a drama or comedy movie
- Don’t ignore your stress
- Express your feelings
- Make a gratitude list
Spiritual – Many times the word “spiritual” makes us automatically think religion – but that’s not always the case. For some, this may be true; for others, simply connecting in nature can satisfy this area. Here are some ways to practice self care spiritually.
- Spend time in nature
- Connect with your spiritual community
- Practice unconditional love
Why you need self care
Still not convinced? Life is incredibly busy and it’s often difficult to not only see the tasks amongst us. Many of us feel selfish taking time for ourselves when we really *should* be doing something different. In actuality, there are benefits to self care.
Self care helps to prevent burnout
Think back to the last time you were overloaded. Did you feel emotionally, mentally or physically exhausted? It’s happened to me plenty of times, and the next thing I know, I’m uninterested, unproductive and I find myself being forced to take time for me. Instead of getting to this point, be proactive in scheduling in times for self care to help prevent getting burnt out.
Self care helps in relationships
Doing things that make you feel physically and mentally good boosts your self-esteem and confidence. When YOU feel good, you have more to give to others, and are happier to do so.
I always remember back to when I had four kids aged 7 and under. It’s tough not to give, give, give with so many little dependents. I felt guilty getting a sitter at first – but then I realized that I was a better mom when I came back to them after a much-needed break. I was happier, had more to give, and was a more joyful person overall for having taken just a couple of hours for myself.
Self care makes you more effective
Similar to above, while preventing burnout, taking time away from tasks puts you in a better mindset to take on those chores that need to be tended to. When you take time for yourself and give your body the quality food, rest and activity that it needs, you will actually have more energy to meet the daily demands of life.
I hope that you’re convinced that, no matter what time of year it is, whether it’s January and resolution time, or even the middle of summer, self care is important. You deserve it! I truly hope that you will not only take time to care for yourself, but to also share other self care ideas below.
Kiran Dodeja Smith is a busy mom of 4 kids who prides herself on getting real food on the table everyday most days. In addition to managing influencer relations for two other food blogs, she’s a Holistic Health Coach and provides 1:1 and group coaching to individuals. She also offers recipes and tips for making real food easy on her site, www.easyrealfood.com.