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Work followed by dinner or cocktails with friends. Kids and after school activities. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and numerous other digital media outlets sending you notifications—all day, every day. Modern life can become stressful all too quickly, and sometimes we just need a break.
Regardless of the stressors in your life, self-care is a crucial part of maintaining the best version of yourself possible. Although some may consider it selfish, self-care benefits, not only you, but everyone in your life. Particularly for women, who spend a large portion of their lives nurturing others—from caring for children to elderly parents and everything in between.
Photo by Fotolia/javiindy.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is “identifying your needs and taking steps to meet them…about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others.” This sounds like a no-brainer, right? Yet, when we’re stressed or feeling down, it’s easy to set ourselves aside and focus our attention on the needs of others.
Benefits of Self-Care
Avoid or reduce the effects of stress. Extended periods of stress begin to wear on your mind and body. Signs of prolonged stress can result in insomnia, anxiety, hair loss, muscle pain, indigestion and more.
Refocus. We take breaks during difficult projects and tasks to help us refocus, and come back to it refreshed. Self-care acts in the same way, and helps us perform better in life.
Improve physical health. Continued practice of self-care may make you less prone to stress in the future, and boost your immune system.
Boost emotional well-being. It also promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
Ideas for Your Self-Care Routine
- Make time for things you enjoy. Whether its reading, watching movies, painting or taking a hike, make sure you set aside time for these activities—daily or weekly.
- Exercise. We’ve heard it, time and time again—exercise boosts mood. And it’s true! Regular exercise releases endorphins and other uplifting brain chemicals, relieves tension associated with stress and improves concentration. Your workouts don’t have to be intense to reap these benefits. Activities as simple as walking will work, and help you clear your head.
- Pamper yourself. For me, self-care often includes taking a bath or painting my nails. Whatever makes you feel relaxed, a little luxurious and special…do it!
- Eat well. Diet plays a huge part in our physical and mental well-being. Nutrient-dense meals can provide a sense of emotional stability, while less nourishing meals can leave you feeling anxious, sluggish or some other less-than-good sensation.
- Meditate or journal. Both activities give you a chance to unplug, even if briefly, and spend a little time with yourself. It’s also a good way to check-in with your inner self, remind yourself of your goals and purpose, or take notice of what you’re grateful for.
Whether you’re overwhelmed and stressed from life’s daily grind or you’re preparing for the upcoming holiday and a house full of guests, taking the time to care for yourself is just as important as your to-do list. Rather than foregoing the things that bring you joy, make sure you keep your self-care habits in your routine during times of stress.
What are some of your tried and true self-care acts? Let us know in the comments below!