In a time where we are busier than ever and with depression and anxiety diagnosis on the rise, many people feel that self-care is surprisingly hard to do. Self-care is a term and movement which was created to inspire a culture to look after themselves, but for some people, the term feels intimidating and overwhelming. In reality, it should be easy to spend time with ourselves, but for a large majority of us, this feels impossible.
With so much advice out there on what is best to do when it comes to self-care, it is no surprise that so many of us find it completely inaccessible. From how to bathe or what to eat, to stress-busting activities and exercises, it’s hard to lose focus on what self-care is really about in amongst all the noise. Taking the time to get to know your body and mind and really understand what self-care encompasses will help you get to grips with what it is you should be doing to look after yourself and what will benefit your body the most. This year, it is important that more of us prioritize self-care in the right way and put ourselves first, and here is how you can do so.
The Three Pillars Of Self-Care
The three pillars of self-care are a set of actions that come recommended by experts. These three pillars should, when put into place, help you to feel more rested for longer periods of time and help you to reconnect with yourself.
This is where you look after your physical well being. Making sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly are all ways in which you can prioritize your self-care on a daily basis. These steps will make you feel better in the long run and are things that you can work on day-by-day at your own pace.
The psychological pillar is often the most focused on when it comes to self-care and is one that may be the most familiar to you. It is recommended that we set time aside for ourselves twice a week for “me-time”. This is different from things such as a hobby or exercising as, although these are self-care steps, me-time is where you spend time relaxing and unwinding. Whether it’s sitting in a bubble bath, practicing mindfulness or even writing in a journal, if you do these self-care steps, you may find that your mind is much more at ease.
If you find yourself thinking that you are surrounded by the wrong people, then you may find that you benefit more by focusing on the social pillar. It is important that we all invest and nurture friendships and relationships which add benefit to our lives and, as selfish as that may sound, sometimes certain friendships or relationships are more toxic than they are positive. If you regularly get FOMO or are constantly saying yes to plans and find yourself feeling burned out, then setting boundaries will have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. Find coping strategies on dealing with those people who zap your energy and spend time with those people who make you feel your best self.
The first step to prioritizing self-care is re-thinking what it means to you. Ignore all those Instagram posts which are hashtagged self-care, only to show a very extravagant shopping spree or a lavish meal out and instead take a moment to think about yourself. What makes you happy? When do you feel most calm?
Many of us aren’t taught to acknowledge or identify our self-needs. Taking care of ourselves is one of our basic human needs and should not be thought of as selfish or weak. Self-care makes us more open and available for others and we have more to offer others when we are not sleep-deprived, overwhelmed with stress or mentally exhausted. Self-care is something which is an on-going daily practice, rather than a once-a-month type of thing.
Learning to prioritize yourself and your needs and taking the time to care for yourself is not only refreshing, but it is essential when it comes to positive mental health and wellbeing. Self-care shouldn’t be considered a luxury, instead, it is a must. The time you take to care for yourself, as well as the time which you allow yourself to rest and recoup, is just as important as the time you spend at work, helping others and doing day to day tasks.
When you are overtired, overworked and overscheduled, the things in which we know are good for us are often the first to go out of the window – how many times have you had a busy day at work and skipped the gym afterward? When this happens, the very thought and concept of being your best self disappear.
Prioritizing self-care is what will allow you to live your life as smoothly and effectively as possible, helping you to bring your best to whatever challenges come your way.
Top Tips For Prioritising Self-Care
- Dedicate Time Each Day For You
Spending just 10-15 minutes a day focusing on yourself won’t take anything away from your productivity and will actually increase it. Taking time to connect with yourself and highlight what it is you need will help you more in the long run. Whether it’s writing in a journal, taking a walk on your lunch break or meditating, start to incorporate it as part of your day.
- Be Kind To Yourself
Be sure to acknowledge that you are doing your best. As we all know in this Instagram-world, the comparison is the thief of joy, so be kind to yourself if you find yourself in a downward spiral in the comparison trap. Another thing to look at is the way you talk to yourself. Is it in a positive way, or are you constantly making negative inward comments about your weight, hairstyle or even just what you are wearing that day? If you find yourself doing this, ask yourself, if you said these things to a close friend, would they still be your friend? If not, avoid speaking to yourself this way.
- Treat Yourself!
You don’t need to spend money on your self-care routine, or by treating yourself to things which future you will only feel guilty for (#treatyoself – we’re looking at you!), but instead small things which will make you feel happy. Whether it’s buying yourself a bunch of your favorite flowers, eating a favorite snack or even visiting a hair and makeup artist one morning before work or before a night out, identifying small and manageable things which make you happy will make it all that much easier to treat yourself.
- Discover What Matters To You
We’re all different, so what makes one person happy might not necessarily make you happy. Spend time determining what makes you happiest and spend your time going after those things instead. We’re all guilty of over-scheduling, so take time to pencil in your things too, whether it be a gym class, manicure or even just a grocery shop on your own with a podcast, add these things to your diary and stick to them!