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Self-care

Dr H Smith August 2019

· Mind,Life Skills

Self-care is more than the latest buzzword or trending hashtag. It’s a vital part of making yourself a priority in your own life. Self-care goes way beyond the basics of maintaining your health by eating healthy, getting exercise, and setting up appointments for health checks, although those are all included. Self-care is a way of treating yourself like you are someone important - because you are!

Even though we know we should, andwe desperately want to, most of us ignore our self-care. There are a million and one reasons for this—and that’s the problem. There always seems to be something more important to do. How can we go for a walk on the beach when our to-do list is longer than our arm? When we do take the time in spite of our busy lives, we often feel guilty.

However, enjoying self-care is equallyas important as eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep. Taking a break from our hectic lives rejuvenates our spirit, sowe have something to give others. Consistent self-care prevents burn-out and evokes our relaxation response that ensures our ongoing good physical and mental health. Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’sa necessity if we want to keep powered up, sowe canfulfill our purpose and live our best life.

If you think self-care is time-consuming and expensive, think again. Pampering yourself by spending quality time with yourself doing things you enjoy doesn’t have to take a lot of time out of your schedule or cost a lot. In fact, it’s much more efficient and cost-effective to prioritize consistent self-care than not. Any burn-out or health break down is bound to cost more in both time and money.

We’ve put together a large list of ways you can treat yourself like you would treat someone else. In other words, ways you can treat yourself to some well-deserved self-care.

Unplug

Don’t freak out. Even unplugging for a couple of hours will revitalize you. Turn off your phone and computer. Then set about finding something to do that doesn’t require screen-time. Take a walk, go to a museum, enjoy your hobby. Getting away, even for a short time, will give you a break from the seemingly constant need to be available 24/7.

Take a Stay-cation

There’s no need to spend thousands on an exotic vacation. In fact, sometimes a stay-cation is even better because there’s no rush to see, do, and try everything available before it’s time to head back to the real world. Try this instead: tell friends and family you are out of town for the weekend (or for a week if you lovethis self-care thing). Don’t answer the phone or the door (unless you order take-out). If you want, you can stay in your pajamas the whole time. Give yourself a manicure. Read a book from your to-be-read pile all day long. If you feel like going out, try a new restaurant or attend an event you’ve always meant to but never have. The sky’s the limit. Whatever you feel like doing, do it.

Watch The Birds

Granted, you may need to go to the park for this, depending on where you live, but even in the city, a single birdfeeder on your balcony can entice a variety of birds right to you. Take your morning coffee outside and enjoy watching the birds for a few minutes. It’s one of the simple pleasures that relaxes and tends to put things into perspective.

Buy Flowers

There doesn’t need to be an occasion to buy yourself a bouquet of flowers. Many people do this for themselves on a regular basis because it makes them smile whenever they see their beauty or smell their sweet fragrance.

Splurge A Little

Everyone deserves to splurge on their favorite treat occasionally. A scoop or two of fancyice cream, homemade fudge or handmade Belgian chocolates, it doesn’t matter. This tip is especially nice after a long day.

Eat Lunch Outside

On a nice day, there’s no better way to revive your spirit than to enjoy your lunch outside. Leave your cell phonein the office. Don’t participate in chit-chat. Sit and enjoy the sun as you savor each bite of your food. Guaranteed there will be a spring in your step when you go back to work.

Gaze Out Of The Window

Unless your window looks out upon a brick wall, we can all enjoy a few minutes of gazing at the beauty that surrounds us. Let yourmind wander and smile. When you return to your task, your mind will feel more relaxed, so you can better focus.

Take A Power Nap

Most of us are sleep-deprived. Even if you aren’t sometimes a nap is in order just to get away from all the demands of our day. Lay down and rest for 20-30 minutes. If you are at work, you can do this in your car, breakroom, or empty conference room. Stretch out in the chair and close your eyes. Just rest.

Get Up And Stretch

We spend most of our day sitting. One quick, easy way to be kind to ourselves on a daily basis is to get up from our chair and stretch. Lengthen your spine, stretch your lower back. Heck, if the mood strikes you, do a downward dog. If you are concerned about getting strange looks from your co-workers (who cares?), head to an empty conference room or the bathroom. It doesn’t have to take an hour yoga class to wake up your body and refresh your mind.

Breathe

Did you know science has proven that our breath affects our emotions? Yep, it does. So, randomly throughout your day, like before you pick up the phone or open an email, stop, close your eyes and take three deep, slow breaths. Shallow breathing tells our brains we are stressed, so our body kicks into fight or flight mode. Deep breathing triggers our relaxation response, so our body lets go of tension because it knows it is safe.

Give Meditation A Try

You don’t need to sit in a pretzel-shape or move to an ashram to benefit from a meditation practice. Scientists have found that only 15 minutes of meditation lowers stress response and gives you a better, more positive outlook on life. If you’ve never tried it before or tried but “failed” (there’s no way to fail, by the way), try an app. There are many to choose from, andthey all offer guided meditations which will help you steady your concentration.

Pay Deliberate Attention

Choose one short activity that you perform on a daily basis, one that you typically do on autopilot. Now, bring deliberate attention to performing it. Some ideas include washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Slow down and experience the sensations. Genuinelyexperience them.

Use Your Instinct

Rather than deciding on something with your logical brain, tune into your gut and let your intuition tell you the answer. It’s okay to start small and work your way up to more significant decisions. You’ll be amazed at how spot-on your intuition is, whether it chooses what to have for lunch or whether or not to accept a marriage proposal.

What Are You Tolerating

Take a few minutes and fix something in your environment that has been bugging you. Change a lightbulb on your front porch, darn your favorite pair of socks, rearrange your medicine cabinet, reset your email signature. Whatever you’ve been tolerating lately you should fix it, and then notice how such a small difference can positively impact your day.

Scratch It Off

Pick one thing that’s been on your to-do list since you can’t remember when and scratch it off your list. If it were that important, you would have done it by now. After you mark it off, notice how your body and mind respond. Ahhhhh.

 

Accept The Compliment

The next time someone offers you a compliment, accept it gladly. Don’t brush it aside or claim you can’t take the credit. Say thank you and trulyfeel the appreciation the other person feels for you. Take the compliment into your heart, no matter how seemingly inconsequential it may be.

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy.This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.

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This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.