Self-care isn’t selfish

When life is just too busy…

What is this self-care that everyone bangs on about these days? Are you someone that hasn’t got the foggiest what it’s all about or indeed why you should be engaging in a little of it? It’s for people who struggle with their mental health, right? 

No. Not necessarily.  I think we all get so engrossed in the ‘busyness’ of life that we forget how to take a little time for ourselves. I mean, ‘busy’ seems to have become the latest affliction of the human race… even interfering with catching up with friends. “Oh, I’ll just check my diary, but I’m fully booked up this month. I may be able to squeeze you in at 7.36 am on 23 June 2024 if you’re free?” 

I’m bored of hearing “I haven’t sat down once, or I haven’t had a day off since, I never seem to get time for….” blah blah blah. I don’t meant to sound unsympathetic but we all have the same 24 hours in a day and can make time somewhere even if we get up an hour earlier to do so. People seem to feel it’s a selfless act to say ‘oh I never have time for me’.

Many people work stupidly long hours and then on their days off they continue with their break-neck pace, catching up on the garden, house decoration, or keeping their kids entertained. People get so busy, they forget to ‘stop’ until they go to bed. Well one day those plates may just all come crashing down! 

Why you should make time for some self-care

So, what is self-care and why should you make time for it? I can tell you one thing it is not.  It is not selfish or self-indulgent. I mean, we all partake in some form of self-care everyday, even cleaning your teeth is an obvious act of self-care.  But that’s not what we are talking about here. The new trend of ‘self-care’ is taking sensible and deliberate steps in caring for your physical and mental wellbeing. It is the important choice of doing something in our daily lives to look after ourselves a little better. It can be as little as just 5 or 10 minutes a day, but the important thing is doing it.

Add a little more if your mental health is poor..

In addition to this self-care daily ‘habit’, I believe that those who struggle with any mental health issues need to check in with themselves regularly and put a little extra self-care on the menu from time to time too. It is vital for keeping your self-esteem on track and helping to keep yourself mentally well.

My self-care…

So, for me, my daily self-care consists of a 10-minute yoga or exercise routine first thing in the morning. I do this to stretch out my tight hamstrings and release any knots around my spinal injury. If the sun is shining, I also sit in the garden with a cup of coffee and meditate for 10 – 15 minutes.  This sets my day off on a calm and happy path setting a positive intention for the day ahead.

I know if my head is feeling cluttered or foggy, then I need to step away from my laptop and get outside in nature a little more. Or if I am feeling low, to take steps to build my self-esteem by going out to meet people for coffee. Social interaction is so important and a definite form of self-care.

My other daily ‘self-care’ ritual is taking my dogs for a walk. I will often leave my phone behind so that I can focus on nature and clear my head of the internet world and any unwanted malingering thoughts. Sometimes though, I have an audible book uploaded and pop in my earbuds to get engrossed in a story which equally switches me off. 

Self-care suggestions…

Other great ideas for self-care are to have a manicure or a visit to the hairdresser.  I personally enjoy reflexology which is a treat I book once a month.  Doing an activity like this carves out a little space in your hectic routine and certainly helps to switch off and de-stress. Obviously not everyone’s budget will allow for things like this but even an evening at home bathing and pampering can have the same effect.

Consistency bring results

I’m big on goal setting as some of you may know (although not so much these days since I’ve stepped away from Tropic).  I believe an important aspect of achieving goals is ‘consistency’ and the same applies with your self-care.  It’s not enough to just think “oh well I’m going out for dinner on Friday, that will count as my self-care”.  No, I believe you need to employ a few regular habits. Consistency is key to seeing the long-term results and there will be some!

For me personally, just starting the day with my key habits makes a big difference to how I feel and how my back feels.  It sets my day up.  I believe that we can help reduce our ‘stress’ and avoid things like ‘burn out’ if we are taking care of ourselves.  It is a necessity in today’s world where we are all so busy being ‘busy’.

I don’t particularly enjoy watching TV, especially if its sport! So, some evenings, to make sure I don’t carry on researching, learning, or typing on my laptop, I have started doing a little art. Let me add here, I am completely rubbish (certainly no Michelangelo), but I have discovered it is impossible to sketch or paint and not get completely lost in it, which means I am switching off and giving my brain a rest. This has made a big difference to dropping off to sleep at night. 

Put your oxygen mask on first

So, to summarise, I would say that if you look after yourself with a little self-care, not only will this benefit you, but it will benefit those around you too. Think of it like the oxygen mask on an aircraft; you must put yours on first in order to best care for your children.

If you have had chance to re-charge your batteries both physically and mentally you will have more energy and be a happier and better person for everyone to be around.

Tell me what you do for self-care… what steps do you take to look after yourself either physically or mentally?

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