Before we go into why self-care is essential and why we need to make it a priority, let us understand what self-care actually means. Most of us have this notion that self-care means doing yoga, eating healthy and staying fit.
This very concept makes people push away the idea of self-care. Self-care means tending to the needs of your body and mind, i.e., letting yourself do whatever you really want to do. We are all so busy with work that we forget to listen to ourselves.
It’s time you give yourself a break. Take time to do what you want to do. This is what self-care means. Self-care can be categorized into Inner self-care and Outer self-care. Let us look into these.
Inner self-care includes caring for your inner, i.e., for your emotional well-being. This includes the following:
Outer self-care is relaxing your body and keeping it healthy. This includes things like:
Let us take a scenario where you have a task due in a few days. You overwork yourself to the point that you work late into the nights depriving yourself of the rest your body so much deserves. Here, you are exhausting your body and depriving it of what it needs. Moreover, you are prolonging the task which you would have done faster when in an active state. This is because your capacity to handle stress decreases by a great margin when your body is already stressed. Know your body and mind and give yourself some time to take a break and tend to your needs.
This is a very important aspect when it comes to self-care. When you already have a tight schedule ahead of you, and somebody asks you to get something done, learn to say no. You are likely to do the task ahead of you and the one being asked for inefficiently if you agree to it. Maybe your boss is very demanding and does not pay heed. A few tactics would surely help. Another thing that you could do is plan your schedule in such a way that you slip in a few empty events. So, even if you end up with extra workload, you could cram it in and get it done. Also, always plan some time for just yourself, no matter how much of a busy day you might be having.
Most of us put ourselves at the bottom of our schedule and always prioritize others. We all have the notion that it is important to take care of others and only then tend to our own needs. Now, if you aren’t strong enough yourself, how are you going to provide for others? Let us look into a few reasons as to why you shouldn’t neglect self-care.
It’s okay to occasionally treat yourself to junk food. But then considering that as a meal is completely wrong. In case you have trouble picking the right food to eat and find yourself eating junk most of the times, look at the list of healthy foods. Find out which of them you actually like. Most times, we neglect eating healthy food solely because they are healthy. Don’t deprive your body of the nutrients that it needs.
You might think sitting on the couch all day long is what makes you happy, and that’s why you’re doing it, but then, you’re wrong. It sure is difficult to find the motivation to exercise. Well, it doesn’t have to be yoga or going to the gym. If you force yourself to do any of these, you’re eventually going end up quitting. Just do any kind of physical activity like brisk walking, running, swimming. The endorphins released will keep you in a good mood.
Although it is sad, most people hate their jobs. You’re going to be spending at least 8 hours at your workplace, among your colleagues and it is important that you do not wake up every day to the feeling of resentment for another day at work. If your current job is stressing you out or affecting your emotional well-being, then it’s time that you start looking at other opportunities. It’s not going to be an easy decision. Weigh the outcomes and act accordingly.
Toxic relationships not only cover the relationship with your spouse but also your:
If you feel that you aren’t being respected or the other person is abusive, talk to them about it. If it still doesn’t work out, it’s time to walk away.
It’s okay to be selfish and put your needs before everyone else’s. Go out by yourself and get a nice good meal, treat yourself to a massage or do anything, all by yourself! Have small parties by yourself. Just take out 5 minutes of your work, put on some music and groove for a couple of minutes until you can relax.
So, once you have an understanding of what it makes to care for yourself, take the time to assess how it can benefit you. Slowly start making changes in your lifestyle. You’ll find yourself in a much better place than before. Also, an essential component of self care is consulting a doctor whenever you suffer from health issues. So, if any health issue is bothering you, get in touch with a doctor at the earliest.
Dr. Udaya Kumar Maiya is one of India’s leading oncologists. He is a Director at the Bangalore Hospital as well as a Senior Consultant at Apollo Hospital, Bangalore, and the Bhagwan Mahavir Jain Hospital. Dr. Maiya focuses on Radiotherapy and Oncology and has published a large number of scientific articles on these topics and teaches at the postgraduate level in Bangalore.
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