Why Self-Care Is Important and How to Implement
Contributor

Self-care is a term that is very popular right now.  Some people look at it as if others are condoning selfishness but that is because they do not understand what self-care really is.  Self-care is everything that we consciously do that is a part of caring for our mental, emotional, and physical health. While it's a simple notion, it's something we frequently overlook. Basic self-care is vital to improving mood and reducing stress.  It is about refueling ourselves so that we can continue to do those things that we are passionate about. 

You are Worth the It

Knowing that you are worthy to be taken care of is an important aspect of self-care as it improves self-esteem and self-confidence which are vital to your ability to grow. By maintaining a good work-life balance it allows you to set limits to those areas of your life that cause stress and therefore make you less productive over time.  Life is more about truly living and not just existing and we need to make conscious choices each day in how we want our lives to take shape.  The best benefit of implementing self-care is better overall health.  Let’s look at the three areas that you can start to implement a self-care plan because you are worth it!

Mental Self-Care

  1. Create a “No” List – a list of things when we are asked that we will say no to as not to overload ourselves with things we really don’t want to deal with.  These are those things that we don’t want to do and that we will complain about when we say yes.  Saying yes in this type of situation causes us undue stresses; so why do it?  Just say no!
  2. Have fun and enjoy life.  This is a completely individualized concept based on what you enjoy.  Maybe you play the guitar and you can jam for 15 minutes a day to help you decompress.  Maybe that turns into 30 minutes as you start to loosen up and enjoy the music.  It could be that you love to read romance novels and that is your fun time each day- reading another chapter.  Whatever it is you need to do it each and every day to help keep the joy in your life.
  3. De-clutter your environment.  Clutter can cause our emotional state to become negative as we look upon the mess.  Even if all we do is make the bed when we get up in the morning we have made the bed look more inviting in the evening but we also have now started the day with completing a task.  It is the little things that bring a smile to our face.
  4. Change up your routine.  Drive a different way to work or try the new coffee shop.  Read that book about the mob and you would never choose for yourself.  When we give our brains something new or different it can help create other neural pathways and keeps the brain healthy.  And we may learn something to help us win the next trivia night game.
  5. Be creative.  First let me say that we are all creative, it is an inherent part of being human even if you don’t think you are.  Everyone can get crayons and a coloring book and create something.  Write a poem or short story.  Draw with charcoals like you did in college.  Play in the dirt by planting some flowers.  These creative endeavors helps connects us to that creative part of the brain and improves problem solving and it’s just plain fun. 

Emotional Self-Care

  1. Meditation is a wonderful tool to help connect to the Divine and bring peace to your day.  Whether it’s a full 20 minutes before your start your morning or one minute awareness sessions five times a day where you become conscious of your breathing.  Both will help you calm the inner self and reduce stress. 
  2. Journaling every day is great self-care.  This is a beneficial way to get your emotions out of your system in a safe manner.  You can yell at the page or cry your eyes out in a safe place.  It is also a way to pray where you can track effects over time. Or work out issues because writing it causes the creative mind to look at it differently.
  3. Alone time is precious. We all need time to ourselves.  Whether it is to take in a museum event or just a quite bubble bath, our alone time is vital.  It helps us get quiet with ourselves and stay in touch with our souls- our authentic selves. 
  4. Laugh every day.  Read the funny pages or get an app that tells you a joke each day.  Watch a comedy with your family.  Laughter gives you more happy endorphins that help improve your mood and decreases stress hormones.  Laughter has always been a great prescription.
  5. Exercise is amazing for emotional health. It is a great way to work our tension from the body as well as giving us endorphins – those happy hormones- to change our mood.  Make sure you enjoy whatever exercise you choose so that you will want to stick to it. 

Physical Self-Care

  1. Get enough sleep, seven to eight hours.  You already knew this one didn’t you?  Yes sleep is vital to our physical and mental health.  This is when the amazing human body deals with toxins and is able to heal dis-ease that has occurred.  Without enough sleep we cause more stress and disease will begin. 
  2. Eat a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and processing.  This one you knew too!  Our bodies need the right types of food to refuel our muscles and provide our brains with the necessary components for good mental alertness.  Brain fog can be diminished by not having that sugary mid-afternoon snack or caffeinated drink. By caring about ourselves and what we put into our bodies we can have a great turn around in our body’s performance. 
  3. Move your body.  Yes this could be exercise but I meant dance.  You can dance while you are doing the dishes or straightening up the house.  Or you can take an after dinner walk around the neighborhood.  Enjoy nature or connect with the neighbor are added benefits to the evening walk. 
  4. Breathe consciously.  Stop and listen to your breath.  Yes, right now.   Are you breathing deeply?  Probably you’re not; most of us don’t realize how shallow our breathing is as we go through our day.  Take a minute right now and take three deep breathes and oxygenate your blood.  Your brain fog will start to lift too. 
  5. Stretch your muscles.  This is different than exercise.  Stretching improves flexibility and reduces muscle tension. It is something that you should incorporate before exercising but it is something essential that you should do daily.

Self-Care Implementation

Plan your self-care activities.  Yes, plan them- put them on your calendar like an appointment you have to keep.  We all have good intentions until something comes up and then we put our own care aside to deal with something else.  Be resolute with your calendar when you book a self-care appointment.

Self-care isn’t a one-time activity.  It needs to happen on a consistent basis.  You need to make it a priority in your daily life.  Remember, if you are ill or tired you cannot help those around you.  This is why you are told to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.  Yes, self-care is for you but it also benefits your loved ones.  The healthier you are the better you can support them.

Cut the negativity from your life.  This item does a lot for improving your overall outlook on life.  Removing the negative nellies you interact with or at least diminishing your time with them is huge in keeping a positive attitude. 

Improve your self-talk.  We all talk to ourselves but are the words we speak kind? Would we say them to our loved ones?  Probably not, so why are we devaluing ourselves?  The ego tries to keep you from expanding and developing.  It wants to keep you small by hurting your self-confidence and self-esteem.  It is wrong, unless it is trying to protect you from a charging lion; most of what comes at us in life is easily dealt with.  Be kind and loving in your self-talk. 

Have a friend keep you accountable.  A great way to be sure you keep your self-care plan of action from falling apart is to employ a friend to keep you responsible.  Or maybe you agree to help each other with a self-care plan by working together.  Accountability helps us keep our promise to take care of ourselves.

Now is the Time to Take Action

So what is holding you back from implementing your own self-care plan?  If you do not make the time for yourself then sickness will force you to give the time which is normally inconvenient. Are you too tired to do anything for yourself – isn’t that proof that you need more sleep and should implement a self-care plan?  Negative attitude keeping your life stagnated?   The universe gives us opportunities over and over again to improve our lives if we just stop for a moment, breathe, and make a plan.  Do you need help in creating a self-care plan?  Contact me and we can evaluate your current situation and create an easy self-care plan that you can implement immediately. Here’s to your better health!

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