I used to laugh when people would tell me that they were having some “self-care” time, or dedicating a day in their weekend to “self-care” . I didn’t understand it, or think I had the time for something as hippy-vibing as that. Then I became aware of the impact of not having this time as something you consciously include in your life.
Self care is essentially described as any activity that you do voluntarily which helps you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. It can help you feel healthy, relaxed, and ready to take on your work and responsibilities (reachout.com).
In a world where saying “I am so busy” is viewed as a status symbol, and where technology has literally taken over every aspect of our lives, we are more ‘wired-in’ than ever. Consequently, we are more susceptible to stress, anxiety, mental health issues and burnout than ever before.
What do you do to take time out, or unwind? Does it involve technology? Perhaps scrolling your phone and checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the like? I caught myself doing this the other night and smacked myself out of it. I had just gotten home from work, had had a big day and was exhausted. What did I decide to do to relax? Check my Facebook, scroll my Insta-feed, Linkedin, Twitter and every other bloody social media app I had on my phone. I wasn’t relaxing at all – I was just wiring myself up in a different part of my life.
We have become so reliant on technology that we no longer understand what it is like to just be with our own thoughts, or our own company. We do it for 5 minutes and it feels weird, or we get “bored”, so we reach for our phones! I dare you to check yourself. Watch how many times you reach for your phone when you are somewhere on your own, or you have a moment to sit and chill. Even when you are walking down the street, or waiting at a cafe for a mate. Heaven forbid you just sat there in your own glory and enjoyed your surroundings! Let me know how many times you instinctively just reach for your phone instead of taking in what and who is around you! P.s I caught myself doing it heaps initially!
Providing myself time for self-care is a conscious decision I have made to help myself stay focused, relaxed and mentally resilient. Is it tough to stick to sometimes? Absolutely! But the difference that you feel in your own mind when you do take the time versus when you don’t is worth it’s weight in gold! Check out the steps below that I have taken. I would love if you jumped on the journey with me!
1. Outsource the things you don’t like – Hate ironing (I do!!)? Find someone who can do this for you! Find yourself using your well-deserved weekends to clean your house, or do the chores you actually hate and that make you resent your well earned weekend!?. Outsource! Work out the dollar cost of your time (you can do this by working out what your hourly rate is from your salary, or find the average if you earn a weekly wage), if the task you hate doing is equal to or less than the dollar cost of your time, then that is a no brainer!
2. Treat yo-self and feel good about it! Decide on something that you really enjoy treating yourself to. It might be a massage, or getting your nails done. Having the time to read a book, or getting a facial. Meditation, yoga, or a walk along the beach. Whatever it might be, decide to treat yourself to this once a month and stick to it! You will look forward to it and it will be something you do just for you.
3. Remove distractions – You don’t need to check your phone every 5 minutes. Put your phone in another room when you are taking some time out so that you remove temptation to check it. Note: This will feel weird to start with, but I promise you, you WILL be ok!
4. Get up earlier in the morning– I used to have a real beef with this one and I often struggle to get up in the morning, unless it is to meet someone else, usually about something FOR someone else! I used to put pressure on myself for not being like those “really successful people” who get up at 5am every morning and are super effective. Now I look at this differently. It is about getting up earlier than whatever time YOU usually do. If you usually get up at 7.30am, then try and get up at 6.30am. That gives you 1 hour every day just to focus on YOU before you even consider starting your work tasks! What a bloody great way to start the day knowing that the full first hour has just been about you.
5. Have your own ritual that you love and feel good about – then stick to it! We wouldn’t stand someone else up, yet we are often happy to do this to ourselves! Work out what your perfect morning would look like and then try to do this atleast once or twice a week! Maybe it is getting up and going for a walk, then making a fresh smoothie before work. Having the time to grab a coffee on your way to work and read the paper, or listening to a good audio book on the car/train/bus etc. Whatever it is for you – work it out and then commit to it.
Self-Care is so important to ensuring that you are keeping your mind clear and functioning, instead of hazy and exhausted. Too often we are so focussed on meeting the needs of everyone else that we forget the importance of taking care of ourselves. Self-care habits don’t have to be big, they can be small things each day that you consciously do, just for you.
I am always looking for new ways to make sure that I keep caring for myself – if you have any tips that you use, I would love to hear them and try them myself! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , comment below, or post on our Instagram page.
Keen advocate for helping you get the f*ck out of your own way!