Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you. — Katie Reed
How important are you to yourself? That’s the question we all need to ask ourselves if we haven’t yet. We, as human beings are inclined to help and take care of others around us, be it our relatives, friends, elders, or life partners. But it is not necessary to hold the baggage of responsibilities of others on our shoulders, and forget about ourselves completely or put ourselves on low or no priority.
Think about it, you are the person with whom you spend most of your time. Yes how much time do you spend looking after yourself? Do you have dedicated time in which you only think and care about yourself, your well-being, and your growth? In this article, you’ll get a dedicated action plan to taking care of yourself which you can start implementing today. Let’s begin!
Why taking care of yourself matters.
When you are on a flight, just about to take off, there is a flight attendant giving you instructions, in case of emergency, by putting on a mask on yourself first, before helping others. That’s how important it is to take care of yourself first, before taking care of others.
The feeling of satisfaction we receive after helping someone is undeniable and unmatchable. You feel needed and important. But, there’s a price to pay for that.
The emotional feeling attached to the constant giving nature, ultimately makes you feel empty inside because you’ve been continually ignoring your own personal needs. And as a result, you start questioning yourself Why do you feel empty even after doing so much good?. You try to compensate for that feeling by constantly thinking about the good you do to others, but it still starves the mind of your own internal self-satisfaction. But you can only get through it by taking care of yourself first.
To be able to help others more, you need to be able to take care of yourself first. For that, we bring you the most impactful and less intimidating ways to begin your self-care routine, so that you can continue to live a more happy, peaceful, and efficient life.
How to take care of yourself?
There are many methods or tricks you can use to practice self-care. You need to find what works best for you. Here are some ways to think about it.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SELF CARE
The first component of caring for yourself is to keep your emotional and mental health.
1. HAVE A PURPOSE
Every human being is supposed to have a purpose in this life, that drives them in their daily life. Because it keeps you inspired, pushes you beyond the current limits, and gives you the motivation of living everyday life.
In biological terms, having a purpose or a vision in your mind, help your brain in generating new cells and creating new neural pathways, consequently which is good for your mental health. It can help you relieve stress, alleviate your immune system, and keeps you motivated to pursue happiness.
Doing work that makes you feel happy and accomplished, setting aside time for doing things that you like and which makes you happy can help make your emotional health better. For example, if you’re in artist, painting, or sketching out designs that only you’d see and which aren’t for sale.
Taking out time for yourself, and following things that makes you feel happy is important. So start taking care of yourself first!
2. SPEND VACATION TIME WITH YOURSELF HAVING FUN!
Take a day off from your work, school, or whatever scheduled things you do and spend some time doing things that make you feel happy, relaxed, and most importantly you should make sure you are free from the worries of deadlines, reporting, scheduled tasks, etc. In other words, you must be with yourself on vacation physically as well as mentally. As a result, it’ll help you recharge yourself and you’ll be more productive the next day you go back to your work.
Warning: You may be hit by those guilt trips of missing out on your work or something, but put that feeling aside for once and HAVE FUN. Because that is what the vacation is meant to be, so free yourself from diverging thoughts. You’ll thank us later.
Read more at 10 Best Practices to Love Yourself Unconditionally
3. MAINTAIN A DIARY
Keeping a journal or diary is considered to be one of the best ways to practice self-care for your mind. Write down your feelings, some positive affirmations, or things that you’re grateful for, that’ll make you feel happy and motivated whenever you look at them. Looking at positive affirmations is like someone appreciating and praising you. So, make a habit of write down good things about yourself and most importantly things that you’re privileged to have. As, that’ll help you with self-contentment and be grateful for life.
4. SLEEP BETTER FOR A HEALTHIER MIND
Sleeping is as important for your mental and physical health as drinking water is for your body to function well. Skipping on sleeping hours can have drastic effects on your neurological and biological systems.
A quality sleep, for adults, is considered to be between 7 to 9 hours daily. But, due to our busy lifestyle, we can’t sleep for those hours daily. But what can be done is to plan out our sleeping schedule by setting out little things here and there:
- Unwind yourself from all the screens (e.g TV, Smartphones, Laptops, etc.), 2 hours before going to bed. If it sounds difficult then start with a half-hour or one hour
- Read a book alongside a soft light or take a warm bath before sleep.
- Make sure that your bedroom is cold, dark, and soundproof.
- If you are not comfortable with the silence, try sounds like white noise, that might help.
Having a healthy sleep is a necessity of our life. Try going to bed, and waking up at the same time daily, to help your body set your internal clock and keep your mind fresh and healthy the next day.
5. SHARE YOUR FEELINGS WITH OTHERS
Humans are social creatures, designed to have social relationships. No matter how much time we spend with ourselves, to improve our mental health, we’ll still need that feeling of companionship. No matter how shy or bad experiences we’ve had with others, we still need those connections to make us feel alive and connected. After all, we are meant to survive together.
In this modern-day age, social media and smartphones have made it easier to connect and talk to people, but nothing compares to the face to face conversations we have. That natural connection we feel when we talk to the other person in front of us is unmatchable.
Do you consider reaching out as a sign of weakness? I’m sure many people do, but believe me people feel flattered if you confide in them with your secrets. If you feel like you don’t have anyone you can share your feelings with, there are always new people out there to help and listen to your feelings. However, probably they are as shy as you are. So just step out there.
You can follow the following tips to help build connections:
- Take some time out and call your friend or relative over dinner/lunch.
- Join community clubs that gather around to enjoy some time together
- Smile and say hello to strangers around you. Start a small talk.
We, humans, are designed to help each other to survive. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help, there will always be someone to help you just like you’re there to help others.
6. ASK FOR HELP
If you think you are not feeling well, you should talk to your friends and family. You will feel better. But sometimes, it is not enough. In that case, don’t shy away from seeking professional help as well. Lookout for psychologists and general physicians around, book an appointment and talk to them. Because, in some cases, you may get stressed because of work, relationships, accidents, or anything for that matter that is bugging your mind.
Just be clear that counseling and therapy are not meant for people with mental issues like depression or stress exclusively, people go to therapy sessions even if they had a bad day.
PHYSICAL SELF CARE
The second component in our list is physical health. Both physical and mental health are equally important. As a healthier body means a healthier mind.
1. KEEP YOURSELF MOVING
God has interlinked our body-parts so extremely well; every part has a different effect on our body.
Physical activities have been one of the well-known ways of practicing self-care. In other words, physically active has a great effect on your mental health as well. For instance, physical activity releases powerful chemicals like endorphins, which uplifts your mood and provides you with that extra bit of energy needed to your body.
- Set a goal of doing a 30-minute session daily. Whether it be all in one go, (like weight lifting, cycling, walking, etc.) or 10-minute sessions throughout the day. It’s your choice!
- Do exercises that involve your complete body activity. Like, running, swimming, kickboxing, etc.
- Focus on the mind-muscle connection. Instead of counting the seconds, focus on your body movements.
2. FEED YOUR BODY WELL
Having an unhealthy diet in your lifestyle can take a toll on your brain. Consequently, it can disrupt your sleeping patterns, increase your stress levels, weaken your energy, and immune system.
Consult a nutritionist and plan out a diet that works best for you. Generally, diets with low sugar, and high in healthy fats, can benefit your sleep and energy levels. But all human beings are not designed the same, people respond to foods differently due to their genetic differences and other health factors. So, try out different things, and chose the best food possible for your brain.
SPIRITUAL SELF CARE
The last but not the least, or may be the most important one is spiritual health. To rewire your thoughts, it’s very important to connect with you inner soul.
Meditation seems like a phenomenon only done by monks or yoga teachers. But it’s not!
Living in this modern stressful world is not an easy task. The hustle starts from the morning and ends at night without realizing the need to take time out for yourself and reconnect. A few minutes meditation performed daily, can help you feel reconnected with your soul and can help your brain function properly.
It is not necessary to sit for an hour-long session just for meditation. You can perform meditation for a few minutes with the following tips:
- Set out a timer for 5-minute
- Lie down on your bed or sit down in an up-straight position.
- Control your breath in and out slowly.
- Focus on peaceful situations, like walking on the beach, or controlling your breaths, or follow any mantra (repeating a specific word that relaxes you).
Guided Meditation: If you are reluctant for self-meditation or can’t find motivation, there are a lot of options of voice and video-guided meditations available today online, free as well as paid
Make meditation a daily life routine and as a result, you’ll see positive changes happening to yourself.
2. CONNECT WITH YOU INNER-SELF
Listen to podcasts or motivational talks that interests you. Spend time alone, pondering over things that make you feel excited and energetic, Talk to yourself. Think about the things you want to achieve in life. Write them down and make a plan to achieve those goals. Make a routine of having a self-talk daily. That’ll help bring out those feelings and ideas that are being mixed around in your brain. Start connecting with you soul.
Conclusion — Start taking care of yourself, because you are important!
Hope this helps you understanding how important it is to take care of yourself and giving you action plan to achieve this. Even, if you want to help others and spread positivity in the world, then you must start looking after yourself, because if you’re happy then you can keep others happy too.
Your soul needs time for solitude and self-reflection. In order to love, lead, heal and create you must nourish yourself first — Linda Joy
Originally published at https://www.brainyqueen.com on November 7, 2020. It was also published in “Change Becomes You” on Medium.
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