The Importance of Selfcare
What is selfcare?
Selfcare is a general term that describes everything you do deliberately for your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Taking time out of our busy schedules to slow down and devote time for self, is easier said than done. Hence the keyword ‘deliberate’. We need to be conscious of our wellbeing before you can achieve selfcare. It starts with small acts of not checking emails at night while in bed. And it can extend to important decisions like booking a much-needed vacation (or staycation) or a massage when you feel you need one.
Why is selfcare important?
Selfcare is important because it encourages us to maintain a healthy relationship with self so that we can transmit the positive feelings to others. We cannot give to others what we do not give to ourselves. While some may misconstrue selfcare as selfish, it is a far cry from that precept. When we pay adequate attention to our well-being, we are not considering just our own needs. We are emptying into ourselves to be the better version of ourselves for those around us. Therefore, everyone around us also benefit from the renewed energy and joy we exhibit.
What are some tips to improve your wellbeing?
Pay attention to your physical health
Physical health is at the core of selfcare. The body and mind have a unique connection, and it is difficult to be in high spirits when we are not in sync with our bodies. Research has shown that regular exercise increases serotonin levels within our bodies thereby improving both mood and energy. When exercising for selfcare, choose an activity you enjoy doing. Amid a global pandemic this can be difficult if your thing was going to the gym or in door swimming pool. However, activities like taking a brisk walk in your neighborhood. Or using household items to for weight training can be suitable replacements.
Getting enough rest
Too many of us are sleep deprived even during lockdowns and quarantining. A lack of sleep takes a toll on our physical and mental health. Here in the States, we seem to have made the maxim ‘hard work pays’ too seriously. And we can take a cue from our European counterparts and insert more work/life balance into our routines. This may mean logging off from our computers at 5/6pm oppose to 8/10pm, if you work from home. Especially when scientist recommend that adults need at least 6-8 hours of sleep daily. Our bodies need time to renew and refresh itself, so taking that midday nap will not hurt.
Being a healthier eater
Our diet is a major part of selfcare as well. Many when asked will possibly list a succulent steak or savory lasagna or loaded fries as their feel-good foods. However, regular intake of these indulgences wreaks havoc on our body. Eating more healthy nutritious foods are one of nature’s best gifts to us. We can give into our cravings from time to time, but moderation is key. We should all try making it a habit to consume good foods that build our body.
Identify the things that matter most
Another easier said than done item, however, do not despair! We need to ask ourselves the tough questions to identify our needs from our wants. Asking self-reflective questions like:
- When the chips are down who do you want to be with?
- How do you want to be remembered when you are gone?
- How do you want to make a difference in the world?
- Is the pursuit of material wealth worth the strained relationships that are left on the path?
Our self-examination and truthful answers to these questions will help determine our approach to living. Spend more time with those who love you. Live life deliberately to be remembered the way you want to be remembered. Keeping your eye on priorities will help you make the best decisions on how to spend your time.
Learning to say NO
A great deal of the time we say yes too often as a way to assuage the feelings of others. When we do this at the expense of our own peace and/or health, we are going against the principles of selfcare. It is an asset to realize we simply cannot please everyone; and we cannot be everything to everyone. Saying yes to everything will predispose you to burnouts, and more importantly it is bad for your physical and mental health.
While little doses of stress is healthy, constant stress is a life sucker. Persistent stress has damaging effects on our physical and mental health. Elevated level of stress can increase heart rates, and can lead to heart attacks, hypertension, or strokes. Therefore, the mantra of ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ becomes ever more important. Whatever is outside of our wheelhouse should be left outside. Manage the expectations of colleagues and supervisors within reason. If something is above you, then it is above you and should be passed onto the next responsible person. Scheduling and budgeting your time can also help minimize stress levels.
In conclusion, selfcare is neither selfish nor self-indulgent. It is a necessary facet of life that is often overlooked. However, if 2020 has taught us anything, is that taking time for oneself, family and friends is more important than meeting an impossible deadline.