Taking action to preserve one’s own health

The importance of self-care

What exactly is self-care and what does it mean? It is just a ‘new-age’ concept, one that has become popular over the last few years or is there something in it? Has self-care just evolved over time as our lives become busier and people take on more and more?

selfcare

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-care as:

The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health. The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Self-care is something I have been thinking about a lot while I have been on holiday. Better ways to take care of myself and both mentally and physically. If I do take care of myself I can be a better Mum, a better friend, a better leader and employee and a better person in all areas of my life.

Self-care is a key concept but it is something that is often overlooked. Good self-care reduces stress and anxiety and helps to improve relationships with others. Self-care is not forcing yourself to do something else to please others. Yes we all have to do these things in life that is part of being an adult, but we need to learn to say no. Self-care should add something to our life, not take something away.

Self-care isn’t selfish either. How often do you hear variations of the phrase ‘if you don’t’ look after yourself, you are no good to others’. This is true. If you run about taking care of everyone else, you will end up neglecting yourself. As a working Mum that is something that I understand. Trying to please everyone while carrying around the dreaded ‘Mummy guilt’. Doing a job that I thoroughly enjoy (well… most of the time), working in a firm that I love, taking care of a seven year old and a four year old and look after myself. I know many people who have lives like mine and lives that are even busier – whew – no wonder I often feel stressed and crazy!

So I did a bit of googling and the consensus seems to be that we all need self-care and there are some basic ideas that we should follow:

  • Eat a healthy diet but don’t obsess – treat yourself
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Practice meditation
  • Listen to your doctor
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Learn to say no
  • Set boundaries with others and yourself – perhaps you won’t answer emails after 9pm? Whatever it is that works for you
  • Do something you love every day – read a chapter of your book, watch Netflix, bake, and see friends – whatever you want.
  • Drop the perfectionism – this is me!
  • Laugh!

The list could go on and on but I am sure you get the picture. Most of this makes a lot of sense and isn’t even that hard.

So after much thought I have decided to stop preaching about it to my loved ones and I have made a new year’s resolution, and one that I am going to keep. 2019 is the year that I take care of me and get a better balance in my life.

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