Self Care isn't Selfish
Self care isn’t selfish. We said it. There is a growing movement to choose oneself before others when it comes to priorities. Right off the bat, this might seem inherently selfish. But when you consider what self care is, you will soon realize that it means taking care of yourself first, so you can be your best self to everyone around you.
What is self care?
Self care is defined as anything we deliberately do to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It means choosing yourself over other things, so you can be more present in other areas of your life. In this day and age, we are frazzled, overworked, underfed, distracted, and running on minimal sleep. Society acts as if being busy is what equates to success. If you aren’t moving, then you aren’t working hard enough, which means you aren’t thriving. These are the lies we tell ourselves and each other. In 2017, 37% of adults in the U.S. stated their stress level had increased over the past year. If you’re a believer in someone upstairs or not, you have to acknowledge that one of the ten commandments is to literally, rest. As humans, we need it. When is the last time any of us truly did that? Make time for yourself. If you don’t, you’re going to get burnt out. Experiencing burn out is something that can be diagnosed by a doctor as a cause for depression and anxiety. We are overworking ourselves to death. Is anything worth more than our health and well being? The good news is that if you haven’t been taking care of yourself, now is the best time to start. Self care is doing anything that rests, refreshes, and rejuvenates you. It means slowing down and being intentional about what you are saying yes and no to in your life. It doesn’t mean you shirk responsibilities to go be lazy. It doesn’t mean ignoring your loved ones. But it does mean that you prioritize your life so you make time for your health. If that means getting off Instagram for an extra 15 minutes a day, do it. If it means waking up earlier to have 10 minutes of stretching and mediation, do it.
Make it a priority
Self care isn’t a one-time solution. It’s about creating healthy habits to hold you up, even when you get stressed out. The first and most important thing you can do for yourself is establish those healthy habits.
Get those Zzz’s!
Sleep is at the top of the to do list. We often push off sleep for an extra hour of work or late night binge watching. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. That might sound like an impossible feat to your average workaholic, but at some point you have to look in the mirror and identify those bags under your eyes.
Mama said eat your veggies
The next best thing you can do, is eat healthy. Consuming a well balanced and wholesome diet will give you the right kind of energy. Instead of playing catch up with 4 cups of coffee, sleep and eat healthy. When you head to the grocery store, hit the produce aisle. A good rule of thumb is to eat the rainbow. Fueling your body will fuel your mind and soul. Hippocrates said “let food be thy medicine.” No one said ice cream can’t be included in there once in awhile either…
Move you’re a$$
Thirdly, you must move your body. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins (those feel good hormones), your self image will sky rocket. Okay, maybe it won’t sky rocket, but it will definitely boost your mood. Not only is working out great for your body to function properly, but it is also good for your mind. Working out can alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. If you’re not an avid fitness guru and look nothing close to Kayla Itsines, then no fear. Bike to work or go for a walk afterwards. Sign up for a gym and take weekly classes. This is a great way to meet other people who can hold you accountable. Some gyms even have steam rooms and saunas which are perfecting for relaxing. Work up to an adequate amount of daily activity until it feels like a lifestyle instead of a chore.
Would you stop for a sec?
It’s important to embrace the notion of slowing down. When is the last time you stopped and smelled the roses? When is the last time you even bought flowers for yourself? If you don’t, then you better start! A slower life is often a more abundant life. Slowing down gives you a chance to catch your breath and acknowledge what you are grateful for. Start a gratitude journal and write 10 things you are thankful each day. Turn on social media timers to cut yourself off from apps that are pining for your attention. In fact, put your phone down all together. Digital detox challenges are popping up on the daily. A digital detox can be as simple as going for a walk or fetching coffee without your phone. Some people are even more bold and will leave their phone at home for hours. Head to a coffee shop that will be surrounded by frantic workers pounding away at their laptops, find a cozy chair and nestle up for an afternoon of reading.
Girls! (and guys) just want to have fun!
Have fun! Self care is ultimately about choosing things that make you happy. When is the last time you truly did something fun? Eating ice cream on the couch while watching the Grammys does not count. You don’t have to go skydiving or book a trip across the world, but you can try something new. Is there an improv class you’ve been meaning to sign up for? Is there a soccer league you’ve always wanted to join? Maybe this is the perfect time for you to start gardening. In order to do this, you might have to shave off something from your schedule. This might be difficult to do, but remember self care isn’t selfish, it’s essential.
Saying no means saying yes to yourself
Lastly, remember to say no. Stop overbooking yourself. Contrary to some ridiculous mantra created by culture, you cannot do it all. Find your boundaries and set them. Adding more activities to your to do list will only drain you more. Self care will set you free. It will help you find balance and joy in your life. Put that at the top of your to do list today.