Why self-care isn’t selfish

Posted: Dec 15 2020

Life is busy. Whether it’s balancing work and being a parent, or fitting in friends, life admin tasks and study, we all have times when it feels like there are not enough hours in the day.

Whatever it is that’s pulling you in all directions, the first thing that often falls off the “to do” list is taking time for yourself.

Also known as self-care, but far from being selfish, these tasks often help you find balance and wellbeing, which can make you more productive and efficient when it comes time to help and work with others. So, what is self-care, and how can you make it part of your routine?

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What is self-care?

There are many practices that could be titled self-care, but the important thing is that it’s an activity you do deliberately to take care of your mental, emotional and physical health.

Sounds simple right? And it is, in theory. In practise though, self-care is something we often overlook, especially when we are busy (which is, perversely, the times we need it the most).

Unlike selfish acts, which exclude others and centre solely around your own needs, self-care enables you to better yourself so you can make a bigger contribution. Self-care is about prioritising and understanding your own wellbeing so you don’t become sick, stressed or unproductive. Some examples of self-care include:

  • Eat and enjoy a nutritious, healthy diet.
  • Exercise. Choose a form that you enjoy and are happy to do every day. Relaxation or meditative exercise might be for you.
  • Stretching.
  • Make those medical appointments. It is not unusual to put off check-ups or visits to the doctor.
  • Create a “no” list – of the things you don’t like, or no longer want to do. This might be things such as not checking your emails in the evening, or not attending events you don’t want to go to.
  • Taking a bath.
  • Unplugging from social media.
  • Spend enough time with your loved ones.
  • Make sleep a priority.

What are the benefits of self-care?

Practicing self-care can bring you balance, help you prioritise your wellbeing and show others that you know your own worth. It can help you discover a more positive outlook, as well as giving you the productivity and motivation to get through the hard tasks, so you can get onto something you love.

How to make self-care part of your routine.

As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty jug, so what are some of the ways you can ensure self-care becomes a part of your everyday routine?

  • Plan and prioritise: self-care won’t simply happen by itself. Put time in your diary for things such as exercise, meal planning, cooking and medical appointments and treat them as you would any other important task.
  • Start small: if you’re struggling to find the time for self-care activities, then put aside as little as 5-10 minutes and gradually work your way up to 30-60 minutes.
  • Find activities that you love: you’re much more likely to stick with an exercise routine you enjoy rather than one you don’t.
  • Consistency is key: in order to help your routine stick, focus on consistency, rather than an all or nothing approach.
  • Find yourself a buddy: although self-care is best done alone, having someone going through the journey at the same time as you can help to keep you both accountable.
  • Try a two-week self-care routine: then compare your wellbeing at the beginning of the trial, and at the end.

As with all things which are worthwhile, self-care takes practice. Get into the habit of doing something for yourself every day and see what benefits it brings.

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Posted: Dec 15 2020

Disclaimer

The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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