First, let's talk about one thing: self-care is NOT being selfish! Think of it in terms of being on a flight and the oxygen masks drop (something we never hope happens of course). But if it did, what is the first thing they instruct you to do? You put YOUR oxygen mask on first before helping others put their masks on. This is a good example of the concept that you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first. Another way to look at it is you can't pour from an empty cup. And bottom line, it's a necessity; not an indulgence!
What Is Self-Care
Self-care simply means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish! Self-care is just one way we can help better cope with daily stressors and show up as the best version of ourselves. And, self-care ranges from taking care of ourselves physically and mentally.
Benefits Of Self-Care
The simple: it’s good for you, especially when it comes to managing stress. With chronic stress being one of the biggest threats to our overall health by impacting everything from heart disease to gastrointestinal disorders and a weakened immune system, taking care of ourselves should be our priority!
The obvious: It feels good. For example, something as simple as getting a good night sleep can make our days noticeably better. Of course, it also helps with focus and cognition, regulates emotions and boosts immunity. Additionally, doing things like going to the gym, heading out for a walk or taking a yoga class, movement medicine class, or even a meditation class can alter your mood and energy level - hello endorphins!
Why You Shouldn't Neglect Self-Care
For some, self-care can be viewed as a form of self-indulgence that they either don’t make the time for or don’t think is necessary. It's important to remember that self-care doesn't have to be all about weekly massages or buying yourself whatever you want. It’s actually a lot simpler than this!
Think of it in terms of being more in tune with what your body and your mind require to function at its best. In the same way you wouldn't ignore the oil light on your car, you shouldn't ignore the cues your body sends you.
It's also important to remember that self-care can mean different things to different people—a bubble bath and glass of wine for some and for others it may be going on a walk for 5 minutes or even something as simple as closing the eyes and simply breathing for 30 seconds. At the heart of it all is the self and doing everything we can to nourish our sense of it.
Self-Care In Action
Here is a 5-minute checklist of some simple things you can do every day to show yourself self-care. Some of these things you are likely already doing! We challenge you to save this, check off as many as you can and then share how you feel afterwards. Also, what are some of your favorite self-care rituals?