What Is Self Care

Woman reading a book in a park

You may have noticed that many of your garments come with care instructions.  These are instructions, usually printed on  a tag sewn into  clothes that give you directions to help keep your clothes looking their best. They may include things like “synthetic wash” or “dry flat”  or “do not iron.”

Well, people also come with care instructions.  Although they are not written on our forehead (at least thus far), humans do need special care to keep them looking and feeling their best. When we first pop into the world, our mums and dads take care of us, and for this we are very grateful, but, as we get older, we become less dependent and we need to assume these duties ourselves.  This is referred to as “self care.”

Self care involves any activity which is done voluntarily to help you maintain your emotional, mental or physical health. It can help you feel relaxed and healthy and can also spur you to take on more responsibilities and challenges at work. It essentially puts you at peace with your own being, helps you avoid burnout, allows you to de-stress. Now, since self care needs to be practiced on a regular basis, it may take a little bit of getting used. to. The following tips should help you incorporate self care into your daily life.

Take Care of Your Emotional Hygiene
Anger and depression and stress often cloud good judgment.  Many people try to get past negative feelings by trying to busy themselves with more activity when, in reality, this may be the best time to take a break.  Acknowledge your emotions.  Try writing them down, even keep a journal. It can be cathartic and help you to think more rationally.

Woman exercising in a gym

Eat Well and Exercise
Life runs at a hectic pace, but if you have no control over it, it can lead to additional stress and burnout.  You need to make time for yourself.  Exercise should be part of that time.  Think of it as an escape rather than an extra duty.  Try working out with a buddy or find a gym close to work.  Let the rush hour traffic go by while you work on yourself.

Another effect of a busy life is also the tendency to eat on the run, and processed food is often the most readily available. Bad food may seem unavoidable. If you are looking to make some changes to your diet, take baby steps. Focus on what it is about your diet that you want to change most and start by changing that one thing.  If you want to focus on eliminating carbs, for example, make it a point to avoid bread and pasta. You’ll find that small goals are more achievable.

Don’t Overload Your Schedule
According to a research done by Stanford University, after 50 hours per week, employee productivity plummets. Quantity often replaces quality. So make sure that you try and limit your time at work and always squeeze in some time for yourself.  See a movie, get a massage or a mani pedi, do yoga, or read a book.  Make downtime just as important as work time.  Block it in your calendar if you need to!

Budget Your Time 
Although it may not seem it at the moment, doing nothing can actually be more productive than you think. If work does not lead to an immediate result, chalk it up to a learning experience.  Don’t let it stress you out. You may discover later that inactivity reaps unseen benefits.

So now you have it, your own personal self care instructions.  If we follow them when it comes to our clothes, why not when it comes to ourselves?  Bottom line:  Handle you with care.

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