Updated: Jan 17
Be empowered to view self-care as a priority rather than a luxury.
Self-care can often be thought of as something luxurious and “nice to have” rather than “need to have” when it’s actually critical to our health. When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, our sympathetic nervous system is ignited and enacts the fight or flight reaction. Since most of us don’t encounter big animals like tigers on a daily basis, instead it’s the low-level stress that keeps us chronically stressed, unable to relax, and susceptible to developing anxiety, depression, burnout, heart disease, and other undesirable health conditions.
Self-care is vital in reducing stress outside our control and activates our parasympathetic nervous system. A self-care routine gives us more energy, prevents burnout, boosts immune function, reduces inflammation, and promotes longevity. It also allows us to slow down, relax, and counteract the effects of long-term stress.
Self-care practices can be anything you do to intentionally take care of yourself and improve your well-being. Self-care practices allow you to fill up your cup so that you are set up for success to care for others and be better equipped to handle stressful situations.
Since many of us can’t find enough time in the day, I suggest creating a self-care routine that you integrate into your schedule and consistently commit to. Self-care can be different for everyone, whether that means meditating, journaling, going for a walk, or catching up with a friend. Use your self-awareness to reflect on how a self-care routine can fit into your lifestyle and act as a preventative measure for feeling burnt out, stressed, and overwhelmed.
How to start a self-care routine:
Think about your current lifestyle and schedule. What activities are you already doing that are fun, energizing, or spark joy?
Ask yourself the following questions:
What do I wish I had time for?
When do I feel my best?
When I feel stressed, what helps calm me?
Look for times when you can schedule your self-care. The key here is shifting your mindset to view your self-care as important as other tasks. Also, look for ways that you can revamp current tasks. For example, if you buy groceries for the week on Sundays, build in a walk-and-talk with a friend before.
Examples of Self-Care:
Go for a walk
Sit in the sunshine
Reflect on things you are grateful for
Engage in movement
Have a cup of coffee or tea
Take a shower or bath
Listen to music
Read a book
Listen to a podcast
Call a friend
Color or draw
Don’t let being busy get in the way of filling up your cup and making time for yourself! You don’t need big blocks of time in your schedule to cultivate your self-care. Taking these steps every day allows you to deal with the stress and challenges you face in your daily life and care for yourself so that you don’t reach a breaking point of feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
Become empowered to take care of yourself and know what you need when you're feeling overwhelmed and depleted.
How will you take time today for self-care?