Why the Need for Self-Care
Self-care is arguably one of your most important responsibilities in your life. It is also an aspect that more often than not gets put on the back-burner. For some reason, burning ourselves out by not getting enough sleep or working 12 hours a day has become the new trend. After spending so much time running around on borrowed energy, it is no wonder we come up with excuses to not follow through with our self-care. By not taking the time to properly care for ourselves, we are ourselves a disservice. If we don’t feel like we are at the top of our game, it is easy to make mistakes, snap at people we care about, or cancel plans with friends. We’ve all heard the phrase “you cannot serve from an empty cup.” What this means is that if we aren’t taking proper care of ourselves, we cannot function at our best. Starting a self-care routine can be very easy. All you have to do is take a few minutes out of your day to do something you enjoy.
Make Your Needs a Priority
Putting yourself first is much easier said than done. This is something we advise others to do all the time, but when it comes to listening to our own advice we suddenly have a million reasons why we need to postpone our self-care practices. We tell ourselves that we just don’t have the time, finances, motivation, etc. to begin our self-care regime. But these are just lame excuses we tell ourselves. Everyone has time for self-care. All it take is a few minutes of your time and the courage to make yourself a priority.
Take the First Step
It isn’t necessary to take a whole day or week out of your life to do self-care (although that would be awesome). Sometimes self-care can be as simple as waking up five minutes earlier in the morning to allow yourself to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. It could also be sitting in your car for a few minutes when you come home from work to allow yourself to decompress from your job before heading into your home. Even adding a detox bath to your weekly beauty regiment would be sufficient. Once you start putting your needs first and taking care of yourself, you will see just how easy it is to incorporate self-care into your life. Here are some of my favorite activities:
Reading before bed every night
Eating a few pieces of chocolate after dinner (good quality dark chocolate has a ton of health benefits: It is full of anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, increases dopamine levels, lowers high blood pressure, and it tastes really good)
Catching up with friends and family
Getting a massage
Cooking or baking
Going to a yoga class
Which Activities are Right for You?
The answer: Anything you enjoy doing! Self-care is unique to everyone because we all have different likes and hobbies. An activity that one person views as pleasurable and relaxing, may be intimidating and undesirable to another. For example, living in Southern California many people like surfing, I on the other hand am petrified of sharks and would feel stressed making surfing a counterproductive self-care activity for me. That is the beauty of self-care, it can be composed of any activity you find enjoyable. Also, different days may call for different activities. Some days you might gravitate towards more relaxing activities and others you may want more vigorous activities.
Just like anything else, getting started and becoming habitual with your routine will be difficult, but once you get the hang of it, you will not want to miss your self-care. It will become the best part of your day. Why wouldn’t it? An entire five, twenty, sixty, ninety minutes of your day dedicated to only you sounds amazing! When you start your new routine, take notice to how you feel throughout the day. You may notice how your stress levels have decreased and how you are able to be more productive. This is because you are taking care of your most important priority, YOU! Stress levels tend to decrease when your needs are being met since you are no longer fighting against yourself for what you need. Your productivity will also increase for the same reasons. By taking care of your basic needs, your brain then allows itself to take on more tasks.
Now that you know what to do, how will you start on your path of self-care?
About the Contributor: Devin Grindrod is a reiki practitioner, yoga instructor, and owner of Spiritually Balanced located in Orange County, CA. She has a background in Psychology and combines her passions of Eastern and Western healing methods to develop individualized self-improvement programs for her clients. Click HERE to learn more.