For many of us, our summers have been filled with work and childcare because our kids were home for summer break. While we all love our children, having them home all day does mean less time for ourselves. Now that they have gone back to school, we can make more time for ourselves. Taking care of ourselves is not just something we should want —it is something we need.
Often, the word self-care seems overused or like a cliché, but taking care of our mind, body, and spirit is necessary to feel healthy from the inside out. Parents focus a lot of their time and energy on their kids, but don’t forget to take care of yourself.
The Importance of Self-Care
Society asks a lot of us —we are expected to work long hours with minimal time off and to work through ailments; otherwise, we are not considered productive or valuable. This mentality can really take a toll on us both physically and mentally. Stress is just one of many ways we are affected internally and externally. Our immune system weakens, our skin shows the drawbacks of stress, our hair can thin, and we can suffer from depression and anxiety. We have to give ourselves attention and essentially help reboot our systems.
Self-care has been proven to help prevent and reduce ailments such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. For both our mind and body, it is essential to keep self-care top of mind and not simply an afterthought, especially if you find yourself living a challenging time in your life.
Carve Out Time For Yourself
We know we need to refill our own tank, but we don’t always make the time. Our days are busy with work, chores, family, and other activities. That’s why it is essential to carve out time to look after yourself.
Pick a Time Every Day (Week)
It can take at least 18 days to build a habit. A helpful way to reinforce making time for self-care is by setting a time every day or every week when you consistently practice self-care.
Schedule Time in Your Calendar
After picking a time that works for you, be sure to enter it into your calendar, whether that is on your phone, a physical planner, or a work calendar. When me-time is scheduled, it means that the time is without fail, blocked off just for you, and nothing else can be booked during that time.
Personal care time is a time to turn off your work email, turn off your phones, close your laptop and fully disconnect from the world. The world will not end if you shut off and unplug for a 30 – 60 minute period while you dedicate time for yourself. Looking after yourself is something you deserve, and there is no reason to feel guilty about it.
Examples of Self-Care
Self-care looks different to different people, but it also means asking yourself what you need and following through on the genuine answer. The point of self-care is to check in with yourself to make sure you’re filling your own cup and staying happy and healthy from the inside out.
Connect With Nature
Nature is good for the mind, body, and spirit. We’ve written about it before, but spending time in nature is energizing and revitalizing. Some ways you can connect with nature locally include gardening, taking a walk in the park, or visiting local city gardens. If you live somewhere close to a body of water, go often. Head over to the closest body of water near you and breathe the fresh air, sink your feet in the sand, and if you can, go for a swim.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Practicing mind-body techniques like focused intention, meditation, and mindfulness can help influence brain activity, increasing the parasympathetic response. Over time, mind-body techniques can help ease anxiety and improve mood. There are many kinds of techniques that you can practice – mindfulness and meditation are not one-size-fits-all. Below are different forms of meditation practices:
- Guided Meditation
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Zen Meditation
- Transcendental Meditation
- Walking Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
- Focused Meditation
Keeping our bodies moving is another great form of self-care for those of you who love to stay active. Many jobs require that you be sedentary, but working out is a great way to combat the drawbacks of working at a desk all day. Exercise can be yoga, cardio, lifting, swimming, or pilates. Any form of movement will invigorate and rejuvenate you.
In addition, exercise promotes better quality sleep and boosts your sex life. Workouts don’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial, it’s all about consistency, and over time you feel the results in your mind and body.
A wonderful way to reduce stress and boost your well-being is by journaling. Journaling, you may find that your mood improves, experience fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, and become more objective about catastrophic thoughts. Journaling can also deepen self-discovery, which in and of itself helps with reconnecting with yourself.
We are ever-evolving, and journaling helps us be more in tune with ourselves, which leads us to understand more about what goals we want to achieve, what are deal breakers for us, and really assess where we are in life, and where we want to go.
Take Care of Your Skin
Beauty can be a form of self-care too, and even meditative. Spending time nurturing yourself and taking care of your skin or hair through eating well and getting good nutrients is a great start, but giving it extra help with the product is an added bonus.
Spending time alone when you get the chance to exfoliate, use a face mask or sheet, apply moisturizer, and overall refresh your face, body, and hair will also help improve your mood and self-esteem and, in addition, relax you. Find products that make you feel good and reap noticeable positive effects on your skin. Consider ingredients, cost, time, and benefits when taking the time to use them during your me time.