Truly taking care of yourself doesn’t come naturally to some people. Many of us seem hardwired to put others first, and while that is certainly a noble endeavour, it actually does more harm than good. People who push themselves too hard wind up exhausted and shorter tempered, and they often make more mistakes. That in turn negatively affects everyone around them.
That is why self-care is so important. By making sure your needs -- all of them, not just the obvious or immediate ones -- are met, you are positioning yourself to become a better person for those around you. It’s not selfish.
Of course, that is easier said than done. If you are struggling with self-care, here are seven basics to start with.
Get enough sleep. Too often, people pride themselves in pushing themselves beyond what is healthy and normal, as if that is an accomplishment worthy of praise. It isn’t. Boasting that you only got two hours of sleep last night because you were busy doing this project or that extracurricular activity will only lead to burnout. Furthermore, not getting enough sleep can have devastating effects on both your physical body and mental health. So find the time to sleep.
Eat and drink right. Just like with sleep, your nutrition has a tremendous impact on your physical body and mental health. Strive to make healthier food and drink choices -- more fruits and veggies, less processed foods is a great baseline. Many people find themselves amazed at the difference eating and drinking right makes.
Have hobbies. Self-care is all about making sure you feel whole. That requires making yourself and your desires a priority. If you have a hobby that has fallen by the wayside because you are “too busy,” then you need to re-prioritize. If you don’t have a hobby, then you need to prioritize giving yourself time to explore potential hobbies and activities. Either way, you deserve to have some “me time” to embrace something you enjoy.
Relax. Life is stressful, and everyone needs the ability to unwind. Remember, there are plenty of ways to relax. Some people have hobbies that relax them. Others pick up on the ambiance of the space surrounding them. Consider removing clutter in your home or even painting a room in soft, comforting colors to create a more serene environment for you to unwind in.
Ask others for help. Many people who struggle with self care do so because they overextend themselves. They are afraid to ask for help when they need it. Break that bad habit. If you need someone to watch the children while you practice self care by relaxing poolside alone, then ask for babysitting help from a friend or family. Forbes explains that you should switch your mindset to view asking for help as a strength, not a weakness.
Say “No.” Just as asking for help for yourself can be difficult, saying “no” to people when they ask for you for help can also be difficult. However, sometimes it is the right choice. If you are overextended, don’t continue to overextend yourself. The majority of people will understand. Those who don’t aren’t worth keeping around.
Don’t apologize. This may be the most difficult of all these basic self-care tips. You will want to tell people you are sorry -- sorry for asking for their help, sorry for saying no to them, sorry for not being available because you were off relaxing, etc. However, you have nothing to feel sorry about, and you need to remember that. You practicing self-care helps everyone around you.
Self-care is a daily practice. It can be learned and reinforced through small, everyday decisions. Start with these seven basics and you’ll have a foundation which you an grow on.
Guest article written by Brad Krause , founder of selfcaring.info blog.