So in the previous couple weeks I have given tips of things you can do for self-care but I never really truly explained why. Why you should engage in self care? What benefits does it have? What happens if you don’t? So today I am going to tell you why you should take care of yourself, why is it an ESSENTIAL & CRUCIAL part of life.
Reason #1– BURNOUT– You’ve heard of burnout. You push yourself & push yourself, you take on more than you can handle and don’t stop until your body makes you stop. You get physically & mentally exhausted and you just give up because you can’t keep it going anymore, not at that rate.
Self-care to prevent burnout– Using creative outlets (writing, journaling, coloring), take a break (50/10- 10 minute break for every 50 minute on a task), talk to a friend/family member.
Reason #2–STRESS– Everybody has stress, and some stress is good, it’s very beneficial. It helps us get out of bed in the morning & do what needs to be done even if we don’t necessarily want to do it. Excess stress however can have many negative psychological & physical effects. It can cause aches & pains, cause your hair to fall out, lead to increased levels of anxiety & depression, the list goes on and on. The more we worry and fret about the things we need to get done or the things we don’t have control over the higher our stress levels become and the more harm we do to ourselves.
Self-care to prevent stress–sleep (I know sounds simple enough but most people don’t get enough sleep) it is recommended that the average adult get between 7-9 hours a night, of course not everybody needs the same amount as it is based largely on genetics, however the 7-9 hour range is the most common. Since most people don’t have that the stress increases because you are trying to get too much done while essentially exhausted. Eat well (again sounds simple but how many people go through a drive thru instead of bringing a healthy lunch. I’m not saying never eat takeout (I personally enjoy it) but you can’t live just on junk. You’re body needs nutrients to function properly. Not only do you need to eat the right foods you need to eat enough. Trying to get things done while hungry is not productive. Many people can’t eat at all when they are stressed what is important is to push through that urge to skip a meal or two or three and make sure you keep up with your eating routine. Exercise – exercise releases endorphins which increase your happiness & reduces stress plus it’s good for your health overall so there’s another benefit. Pamper yourself- Take a bubble bath, get a massage do something that helps your mind & body relax.
Reason #3: DEPRESSION–Depression affects over 16 million adults in any given year. Of course it ranges from situational temporary depression to chronic long lasting and debilitating depression but regardless of the severity self care is a great way to decrease the symptoms of depression. Of course it’s not a cure,depression is a very real medical condition but I for one am a fan of anything that can make people feel better.
Self care to decrease depression symptoms–Positive self-talk- Positive self-talk can be difficult to do especially in a depressed state but it is so important. Even if you just , once a day, write down a reason you love yourself or something you did right or something you WILL achieve it helps to the point where after a while the positive self-talk will become second nature. Journaling- Just get it out, how you’re feeling, how you spent your day, what you want to do tomorrow, your goals,your dreams, what you are grateful for. Maybe you had a bad day and wanted to punch someone in the face, whatever it is just write it down. Take care of your body–Sleep, exercise & eating well are always a great step towards self care.
Reason #4: Unhealthy Relationships– unhealthy relationships do not mean abusive or violent. They are relationships where maybe you are not being treated with respect, make you feel bad about your decisions and actions, when they take advantage of your generosity or your availability and just assume you will always do what they want even if it interferes with your life & your needs and wants. Sometimes a relationship is unhealthy not because the other person is a bad person but because you have made yourself so available and so predictable that they have just come to depend on that, or you have been such a push over that it is expected or even worse you have been so dependable that they have become completely co-dependent which is also not healthy at all. Relationships where one individual is overly stress, frustrated, upset, angry etc. are not healthy either. *Does not just include romantic relationships also includes family, couples, friends,co-workers etc.
Self care to improve relationships– Take “Me” time- I speak of “me time” a lot but there is a reason for that, it is very important. It does not have to be anything extravagant take a relaxing bubble bath, have a spa day, binge watch a show on netflix, read a book, go for a run. Do something by yourself, for yourself, that you will get joy from. Just say no-Are you being asked to do something that you do not have the time, energy, money or motivation to do ? than don’t do it. The first few times it is difficult, you feel like you are letting people down but it is important to put yourself first sometimes. Unplug-Let people know so they don’t think you fell off the face of the earth but just take some electronic free time, no social media, no phone and just disconnect. Have valueable time with others-Not all relationship based self care involves disconnecting from people, host a dinner (if you like that sort of thing), go on a date night, have a game night, do something you enjoy with people you enjoy being around.
Reason #5: Poor Health– We are so often just going going going that we don’t notice when our body starts to feel off. We notice only after the pain starts, after the nausea kicks in, after the flu or cold or infection or migraine or whatever has already begun. By using self care you can not only have been health but also notice symptoms sooner by getting to know your body better than you ever have before.
Self care for better health– Give your body attention– just 10 minutes to check in, how does each part of your body feel ? Take three deep breaths–deep breath can oxygenate the body as well as relieve anxiety. Be still-take 5 or 10 minutes and just relax. Stretch out the kinks-A few times a day ( on your break or after sitting for extended periods) just stretch so your body doesn’t stiffen.
There you have it, my top 5 reasons to engage in self care: Reduce stress, depression & burn out and improve health & relationship. With those things on the line the real question is can you afford not to look after yourself.
What is your favourite self care activity? let me know in the comments