The term ‘self-care’ comes up quite a bit these days, and often in a context that promises to be good for you ‘if you do it’. The apparent absence of urgency means many people place it on their ‘will get to it later list’, and never follow through. That’s a pity. Self-care originally came to light as a medical concept as far back as the 1950’s, though has really caught on in the last five years via its adoption by mainstream health professionals.
Swept along by the demands of everyday life, it is all too easy to lose perspective. Somehow molehills become mountains and mountains become molehills. The point of self-care is to ‘right-size’ the issues of daily life and regain perspective. Just as exercise more than makes up for the time it takes with increases in energy and alertness, appropriate self-care (which may or may not involve exercise), can enhance our ability to deal with the many things that come our way – big, small, and in between.
The pandemic and the monotony of lockdown have taken a big emotional toll on many of us. A self-care routine established now can help with today’s tough times, and if maintained will continue to be of value in tomorrow’s better times. The good news is that self-care ought not be difficult. In fact, there is likely a strong relationship between simplicity and effectiveness. Simple little reminders or small wins that are possible for all of us to activate every day.
The activity is not especially important; it is the positive impact the activity has on the individual. Something that does wonders for one person might be a disaster for another. The trick is to figure out what works for you, be true to your needs, and operate within your limits. We need to be able to care for ourselves before we can care for others.
Research findings suggest that self-care helps restore personal balance and contributes to good health in all its forms – including physical, emotional, mental, financial, and spiritual. A choice to avoid self-care unnecessarily invites heightened stress levels, burnout, medical issues, and many forms of mental anguish.
What does self-care mean to you? Once you establish a path to self-care, the journey itself will take twists and turns but the benefits are well worth it – it can be the difference between existing and actually living.
SIMPLE LITTLE SELF-CARE REMINDERS:
- Honour yourself
- Take a moment to look up into the sky or stars
- Admire a tree or a flower
- Take a moment to prepare and enjoy a cup of tea with ease
- Actively listen to your favourite music without any technical distractions
- Switch off all electrical devices for a few hours or even a day
- Walk barefoot on the grass
- Prepare a meal and share it with a special friend
Remember: if you are not sure what to do, ask yourself: ‘What brings you ease and joy?’.