What is Self Care?
The art of self-care is deciding to take personal responsibility for your own physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being. Practising self-care is preventative, not selfish.
Why is it important?
Lack of self-care can lead to a build-up of stress, resentment and dissatisfaction with life. The stress hormone cortisol builds up in the body causing our immune systems to become more susceptible to illness and dissease.
If you don’t take the time to exercise regularly or eat healthy, balanced meals this further increase the chances of chronic health problems.
Why is it especially important for women?
Women often suffer more from immune illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and thyroid disorders, ailments that experts believe are often exacerbated by stress. Women suffer emotionally from a lack of self-care can leaving us anxious, depressed and less productive.
Women often carry most of the mental and emotional load – women are the managers of the household and often the main caretakers of the family. We organise and manage the kids, the family social activities, the diary, the household chores, the bill payer, the meals, the list is endless. This mental managerial role often goes unnoticed. Women also bear the emotional load of the family.
Often women postpone self-care to better serve those we love — taking that bath can seem petty when your kids need help with their homework — although forgoing our own needs can actually damages those relationships in the long run.
Even though it feels like there’s no time for you, looking after your own health (emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually) is essential.
Here are some self-care suggestions:
Find time for friends – Laughter is the best medicine. Take time to watch a funny movie or laugh with a friend on the phone.
Learn to say ‘no’ and set boundaries. Identify situations where you habitually say ‘yes’ and notice if you become resentful – this is a clear sign that you have taken on too much.
Learn a mindfulness or meditation tool to help when your feel overwhelmed.
Accept help from friends, family members and professionals so you can have break for a few minutes, hours or a day or two. Learn to delegate.
Exercise: It has a positive impact on both your physical and emotional well-being. Aim for small enjoyable things try walking, run, swim, garden or learn yoga. It’s a natural way to relax body and mind.
Be your own best friend. If you were, what would you tell yourself right now? Look in the mirror and say it.
Make a list of activities or hobby that you used to enjoy and add some that you think you might enjoy.
Talk it over: A therapist can help assist with stress management techniques and will be a sounding board when you need to make decisions that are appropriate for your personal situation.