Look around the personal development world and you’ll notice a lot about self-care. It may feel like it is another trending topic that people are jumping on the bandwagon with. But it's not at all. It has been around since the dawn of time. The Benefits of Self-Care are endless, but I'm going to give you the top 5!
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Right now, is an excellent time to take stock of how well you’re taking care of yourself. Sure, self-care is a bit of a buzzword. But it is one of the most important things you can do for your health, happiness, and even your productivity. Self-care is the crucial step in being your best you. Sadly, it’s also likely to be the most neglected part of your life.
Why is self-care important?
Self-care means looking after yourself so you can avoid fatigue and illness. It is as simple as that! There is nothing fancy about it. Well, it's essential… does that count as fancy?
Firstly, let’s look at how you can tell if you need more self-care. Have a look and see if this self-care checklist applies to you:
- You feel overwhelmed at work and home
- Your calendar is full
- Your to-do list never seems to get any shorter
- You have many people counting on you
- You could do with some more sleep
- You're sick of getting lots of colds and coughs
- You don’t have time to go to the gym
- You don’t have time for self-care
If you’re always just pushing through or you’re stuck in survival mode. If you’ll do some self-care ‘when you have time,’ you need to stop right now. You need to make self-care a non-negotiable part of your life.
Having poor boundaries, too many obligations, and an inability to say no will start to show up. Often in some unpleasant ways in your life:
- Increased stress and anxiety
- Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- High blood pressure, heart disease, and bodily inflammation
- A reduced immune system
- Insomnia and poorer sleep quality.
You’ll also become resentful, exhausted, and grumpy. And less effective as the stress and tiredness affect your cognitive ability. Let’s go ahead and look at the benefits of self-care in a bit more detail.
What are the benefits of self-care?
1. Healthy relationships with ourselves
Taking time out each day for self-care helps to develop healthy relationships with ourselves. It is an absolute fact that you are the most important person in your life.
Yes, I know, we are all devoted to certain other people in our lives. But, without a good relationship with ourselves, our relationships with friends and family will suffer.
Taking time to stop and do something we love, gives us the opportunity to check in with ourselves. How do we feel? How do we want to feel? Are we doing what we love?
Practising self-care produces positives feeling, which helps boosts confidence and self-esteem. Most of the activities you are likely to add to your list of self-care practices will make you feel good.
Whether you choose to dance for five minutes or meditate for 10 minutes a day, you’ll feel good. The more you do this, the more you’re likely to recognise that you deserve to feel good. Which, in turn, means that your confidence will increase.
3. Productivity and motivation
Focusing on self-care can improve productivity and motivation. It could be that you spend your time looking forward to the fifteen minutes you get at the end of the day to unwind. So, you’re motivated to work hard to get there quicker.
In general, the fact that you’re taking time out will leave you feeling refreshed and energised. So, you’ll have more energy to get the other important stuff done.
4. Higher engagement levels
If we do self-care activities, we are likely to have higher engagement levels. Which means we’ll feel more connected to the world around us. The relaxation you get from your self-care will give you more awareness of what is going on around you.
These days we spend a lot of time keeping busy (or feeling busy) that we don’t have the space to take the world in. Taking 5-30 minutes will open your eyes and mind.
5. Fight fatigue and illness
Neglecting self-care practices can lead to fatigue and illness. It also decreases our ability to support and look after those who are important to us (which connects us back to point one!).
If we don’t look after ourselves, we are much more likely to become unwell. Especially when we do stop (see my post How to avoid Leisure Sickness). Of course, you are unlikely to avoid ever getting sick, but cutting it down is appealing, right?
If you’re unwell, and always busy, you’ll find it difficult to look after all those other people you want to support. This is where the benefits of self-care kick in
The Soothing Self Care Checklist
We now know how important it is to take care of you! These self-care rituals will help you soothe your mind, body, and soul, contributing to joyous and fulfilling days.
The self-care challenge
So, we have talked about the benefits of self-care, now what? What do you do about all the items you checked on the first self-care checklist we went through?
The big thing you can do is stop handing your power over to other people and to start putting yourself first. Starting right now, you can take three simple steps to make yourself a priority:
- Learn to say no. That can take practice if you’re usually everyone else’s go-to person. But be clear, polite, and keep it simple. You don’t need to explain or make excuses.
- Think about what’s important to you and set some boundaries around what you will and won’t do.
- Clear the decks so you can make sure you get the downtime you need. Schedule non-negotiable spaces in your diary for exercise, yoga, and relaxation time (or any self-care activities you enjoy).
Remember: Self-care isn’t a reward or a luxury, and it’s certainly not selfish. Be kind to yourself and make sure that taking advantage of the benefits of self-care is a non-negotiable part of your life from now on.
Best self-care books
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