life tales

the importance of self care

7 May, 2018

If you are anything like me, when things start to get full on, self care becomes something that I struggle with. In the hustle to get things done, I tend to start to focus more on the outcomes than on the impact of whatever I am doing has on me during the process. Self care can seem like an indulgence that should be put off to that illusive time when all the work is done and I have achieved what I set out to achieve. Unspurprisingly, it’s been this exact thinking that has actually been my greatest barrier to being able to accomplish and enjoy achievementments altogether.

One of my favourite ways to think about self care is like the airplane mask warning. When the air masks drop from the ceiling during an emergency, you have to put your own on first before helping others to put on their masks. Basically, the whole idea stems from the fact that you can’t help others if you are not in a good place yourself. If you take the time for a bit of self care first (like putting on the air mask), you will be in a much better position to give to be of value. 

Last week I had to hit the reset button after a few crazy weeks and do a total reevaluation of what self care is and what I was doing to take care of myself. In the bustle to take care of everything and everyone else, I could feel myself burning out. I was becoming the empty cup. Although I never like to admit it when I reach that point by neglecting myself, it was a fantastic reminder of just how important it is to be intentional about self care. 

What is self care? 

Generally speaking, self care is the ongoing activity of looking after our wellbeing to promote health and personal development. 

True self care is not about adding more to the to do list. It’s not a reaction to stress and overwhelm. Nor is it about being selfish. It’s about identifying what is important to you and your wellbeing and prioritising that. Self care is the ongoing healthy habits to nurture yourself. By doing this, you then have more capacity to actually be your best self and share your gifts with the world.  

There is no one size fits all approach to self care. In fact, self care can mean very different things to different people – and even to you at different times in your life. There are even different domains of self care to be mindful of which include physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and professional self care. Even if it’s just one or two domains of self care that we can let slip, it can have a profound impact on our overall wellbeing across all 5 areas.

Remember, self care is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It also has to be soul nourishing. Not just maintainence. 

My version of self-care? Regular walks, yoga and runs, staying connected with loved ones, cooking, eating amazing foods, laughing, getting outside, and just unplugging. Yours might (and probably is) very different. But here are some general self care tips to get you started. 

10 Self Care tips for Maximising Wellbeing

  1. Regularly engage in activities that you find restful and relaxing.
  2. Maintain strong relationships by having intentional phone calls and catch ups.
  3. Ask for help – most people in your life get the same joy from being needed to help as you do! 
  4. Be kind to yourself – forgive yourself for mistakes, challenge negative thoughts and give yourself a break. 
  5. Eat well and in line with your values.
  6. Exercise in a way that you enjoy.
  7. Get the right amount of sleep – although this can be different for different people, a rough guide is about 7-9 hours a night.
  8. Meditate, pray, journal or just connect with nature.
  9. Do something that you enjoy just for the sake of it – like watching a movie or reading a book. 
  10. Plan something that you can look forward to, like a holiday or dinner party. 

At the end of the day, there is actually no greater priority than taking care of yourself. Just imagine how you would feel if you gave as much love to yourself as you do to others? Self care can be a challenge that takes intentional commitment, but investing in yourself is actually the most important investment you will ever make. 

I would love for you to share with me what self care is to you and how you practice it in your day to day life! 

xx Elizabeth 

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