for anyone who’s been looking for a good reason to treat themselves consider this.
Today I woke up at 4:30am to catch up on my work and unrealistic to-do list. As I waited for my train, my weary eyes were hanging out of my head. It was then that I reached for a sugary Caramel Macchiato and packet of salt and vinegar chips. Breakfast of champions. By mid-morning my head was slung over my desk as I reached for my phone that was dead as clearly my brain had a malfunction last night and I forgot to charge it.
You see, I’ve been feeling quite under the weather of late.
I can’t seem to go a day without feeling overwhelmed, stressed, tired or run down. Yet, I still continue to push forwards and take on the world. I want to be everything that I can to everyone. However, I also want to achieve absolutely every dot point on my unrealistic to do list and change the world. After all, I am a woman correct? I should be able to be amazing all day, every day while keeping my stress levels low and immune system in check.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Rather than putting myself first and making sure that I’m treating myself with care, I’ve instead run myself and my body into the ground with exhaustion.
What is the cure, you ask?
A little bit of tender love and self care towards myself.
What’s the Deal?
Often-ignored but totally necessary, self-care is any action or behaviour that helps us avoid triggering health problems (like my breakfast choices and brain malfunctions) and benefits us by improving our mental and physical health through better self-esteem, less stress and overall wellbeing. These actions provide balance in our lives.
Why is self-care important?
According to research there are lots of reasons why self-care is important, however here are three main reasons presented by Reach Out Australia.
1. It keeps you healthy.
Self-care helps you stay healthy! Physical movement and exercise can be a great form of self-care for different reasons. It keeps you strong, burns off nervous energy and gives you some time to forget about your responsibilities or things that stress you out. Other activities such as reading, colouring, participating in a hobby, enjoying a cup of tea or watching your favourite TV show are also a great way to distract your mind and body from things that could be stressing you out and allow you the time to slow down and enjoy the present moment.
2. It helps you ‘recharge’.
Some people use self-care as a way to unwind and de-stress after a long day or week. Taking a bubble bath, meditating or even taking a nap can help people catch up on rest and ‘un-plug’ themselves from the outside world for a little while.
3. It can help you manage health issues.
Self-care is sometimes a way of coping with physical or mental health issues. People with mental health issues will use self-care strategies to cope with symptoms that can be overwhelming and to make sure that they can live their lives as fully as possible.
Your Action Plan
There is no right or wrong way to practice self care – so long as you make the effort to practice it daily. It’s about finding the activities that nurture you and bring you joy. It’s about letting yourself do WHATEVER you want to do – not what someone says you should do, or you feel pressured to do. Below are some simple self-care practices that you could use to treat yourself while relieving stress, boosting happiness and returning balance to your life. Feel free to add to this list or create your own list because the possibilities of self care are endless!
Have a bubble bath
Make a vision board
Light some candles
Enjoy a cup of tea
Look at the stars
Sit in a coffee shop + write
Laugh out loud
Take the long route home
Catch up with a friend + hear their voice
Get a manicure/pedicure
Learn a new hairstyle
Sing in the car
Keep a gratitude journal
Buy yourself flowers
Cook something different
Connect with people face to face
Pinterest positive affirmations
Run through a field
Do a random act of kindness
Go to bed early
Indulge in a massage
References (check these out for more information):
1. ReachOut Australia. 2015. What is Self Care?. [ONLINE] Available at: www.au.reachout.com/what-is-self-care. [Accessed 22 February 16].