The phrase, ‘charity begins at home’ is very apt when it comes to self-care. We get so caught up in life and its various demands that we forget to take care of our mental and emotional well-being which ultimately affects our physical health and our daily functioning.
Work-life balance is so very important, even though we live in times when there is a pervasive cultural pressure placing a variety of demand on our time, making work-life balance very difficult. Our daily grind can often lead us to ignore the physical, emotional and psychological needs of our bodies which can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and burnout.
We have to be kind to ourselves, we have to give time to ourselves and offer ourselves some self-care and this is, in fact, being charitable to ourselves for the sake of others. We cannot help and support others or provide for our dependents if we are not in a healthy state of being. We need to be charitable to ourselves in order to offer our help and support to others.
Importance of self-care
Self-care is an activity which is deliberately carried out in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical well-being. This activity should be one which you enjoy; it should refuel, recharge and energise you to be able to give more of yourselves to others.
Indulging in self-care should not be viewed as a guilty pleasure, instead, it is something required by our mind and our bodies to be able to function for longer and more efficiently. Good self-care plays a vital role in uplifting our mood and in keeping stress and anxiety at bay.
Self-care also plays a central role in maintaining healthy relationships with our significant other, our children, colleagues, friends and even ourselves. Healthy relationships are a key factor in living long, healthy and happy lives.
A Self-Care Checklist
Self-care means different things for different people. The first thing to do is to identify what works best for you to unwind, relax and re-energise. Develop a checklist for you to follow so that it becomes a routine and a habit. Remember self-care is an enjoyable activity which needs to be undertaken deliberately.
Some must-have self-care activities for your checklist:
Eat a healthy diet
Food has a great impact on our emotional and physical well-being. Try to eat fresh food, including plenty of fruit and vegetables in your diet and drink a lot of water. Steer away from processed food, high in artificial preservatives as these foods are known factors in increasing levels of stress and anxiety. Eating a healthy diet is very important for good health.
Adults usually require between seven and eight hours of sleep each night. Sleep is a time when your body and your mind relax and unwind, the body repairs itself whilst the mind processes and stores information. Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, slow cognition and delayed response time. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety and depression. Creating a bedtime routine is great to help your mind prepare for sleep; reading a book, gentle stretch-like exercises and a warm drink can all help to relax into sleep.
Exercise is great for our physical and emotional well-being. Exercise releases increased serotonin levels in our body which increase our energy and uplift our mood. The best thing to do is to choose a form of exercise which you enjoy; whether that be riding a bike, brisk walking, dancing, yoga or running amongst other activities. The aim is to enjoy what you do, don’t let it feel like a chore.
Relax with your family and friends
The best thing for self-care is to spend quality time with your loved ones. Social company is great for our health. Being around people you love and care for is very therapeutic, feeling loved increases self-confidence and self-esteem.
Make a ‘No’ checklist
Learn to say no to things which you no longer want to do or things that are harmful to your self-care practice. Identify what harms your self-care practice and learn to say ‘no’.
Remember you need to invest time, energy and effort in yourself as well as people around you. Life is very important and living it in the healthiest manner is ideal.
Treat yourself to forms of relaxation and activities which revitalise and boost your mood and energy. You are more useful as a human being when you are optimally functioning. Include things you enjoy in life to be able to cope with the things which you least enjoy. Find opportunities to laugh, laughter is the antidote to stress and anxiety. Enjoy life and make the most of what it brings your way.
Prioritise self-care, making it a goal because self-care is the key to living a balanced life.