There are so many reasons to make self-care a priority in your life. Lots of people realise last minute when their stress becomes chronic that a self-care practice is an essential aspect of any busy lifestyle, especially with burnout culture on the rise.
There’s nothing selfish about self-care – in fact it’s a crucial element of a fulfilled, healthy lifestyle. Without being able to care for yourself you can’t be the best version of you – so constantly putting others first creates a false economy at the expense of your physical and mental wellbeing.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start a self-care practice. Start small, incorporating just one thing a week or one daily ritual to help soothe stress and take care of you. Your body will thank you for it!
You can’t pour from an empty cup
If you’re one of those people who tends to take care of everyone else before others, consider how hard it is to keep looking after the people around you when your own energy levels are depleted. The phrase ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ sums this up perfectly – if you’re not fit and well yourself, how can you be expected to care for others?
Although it’s difficult to start prioritising your own needs above other people’s, especially ifyou are a primary carer for somebody close to you or work in a demanding care-orientated job, it’s important to recognise when you might need some time out to fill up your own cup. As a result you’ll be able to take care of the people around you much better and won’t find yourself feeling poorly or burning out.
Stress directly impacts on our physical health
The mind-body connection is being explored more extensively than ever before, with studies showing that stress has a significant impact on our physical health in addition to our mental wellbeing. Stress has been linked to a variety of debilitating chronic illnesses, from fibromyalgia and IBS to heart disease and high blood pressure.
Periods of stress cause us to enter fight and flight mode, triggering a hormone called cortisol to spike in our blood, which is helpful when we need a short burst of energy and adrenalin to deal with a ‘threat’. But when cortisol becomes chronically high we start to experience symptoms such as low mood, irritability, weight gain, headaches and hair loss.
To care for yourself holistically, getting on top of stress is essential. Although there are things you can do to mitigate its effects like herbal supplements and keeping hydrated, the best defence is getting to the root cause of the stress and putting regular practices in place such as meditation, massage and yoga to lower stress levels long-term.
Charge yourself as much as you charge your phone
Technology is a huge stressor for so many reasons – and ironically, we spend much of our time making sure we’re always ‘switched on’, literally and metaphorically.
Imagine how your perspective on wellness could change if you were to recharge your body and mind as much as you charge your phone. To take time out of each day just for half an hour to sit down to eat, or savour a cup of tea. To start your morning slowly and with intention, instead of scrolling.
These small periods of time spent taking time out just for you will recharge your energy levels, boost your mood and help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Make time for self-care activities you enjoy
Everyone’s idea of self-care looks a little different. For some, a relaxing foot massage or reflexology session could be their idea of bliss – but for others it’s going out with a friend for coffee or getting their nails done.
Popular self-care activities and ideas include:
*Seeing friends and family
*Spending time with pets
*Taking a class like arts, crafts or exercise
Once you find what works for you, and start doing things you enjoy on a regular basis, you’ll never look back!