Self-Care is Not Selfish!
With recent WorkScore stats showing 65% of Aussie employees place other people’s wellbeing needs ahead of our own and only 25% of women and 36% of men rate their wellbeing as very good. We have looked at why caring for ourselves takes a back seat.
Why do we believe self-care is selfish, and why does it make us feel guilty when we take time for ourselves? How can we make time to prioritise ourselves rather than prioritising the care of others?
What is self-care really?
Self-care is about taking good care of our physical, emotional, and mental health, and undertaking activities that maintain sound wellbeing and healthy relationships with others.
It’s not about buying a new outfit or taking yourself off for a holiday; it’s about listening to and paying attention to your inner self and being open to feelings you observe. By being aware of your emotional and physical health, you can recognise how to self -care and in turn reduce feelings of stress and protect your mental health.
Self-care will also lead to improved relationships and more empathy for others. So rather than feel guilty for prioritising your wellbeing, recognise that others will benefit too.
Self -care is a great way to maintain good wellbeing and should be incorporated into every day activities, rather than viewed as a cure for distress.
Here we look at ways you can incorporate self-care activities into everyday life.
7 ways to get started on your self-care routine:
Sleep -Think about your nightly routine. How can this be improved? Try and reduce caffeine, alcohol, computers, and sugar in the evening as these contribute to a poor quality of sleep. Keep your bedroom a technology-free zone and try some lavender oil on your pillow as a calming scent to improve sleep.
Gut health – There is so much research on gut health and the impact on our physical and mental health. Studies have shown the links between gut health and the immune system. Bacteria line your intestine and help digest food. They contribute to brain function by making small molecules and sending signals to the immune system. Prioritise your healthy eating habits and add in some berries, nuts and green leafy vegetables for a healthy gut.
Stress Reduction – it’s fundamentally important to be able to switch off outside of work. As stress is part of life, it is imperative to have strategies for coping and reducing. Did you know a simple hug releases oxytocin, the hormone associated with higher levels of happiness? Make time for regular cuddles with loved ones and pets for a boost of the happy hormones.
Prepare meals from scratch – instead of dialing for a takeaway think about the benefits of choosing healthier meals. Take-aways will inevitably pile on unnecessary calories and portion sizes can often be bigger than needed. If you short on time, try a company that sends meal kits and recipes if you need to save time.
Exercise – daily exercise is essential, and even a short walk has many benefits. Start a routine that can be incorporated into your day and reap rewards. Regular exercise is not only good for the physical self but is important for mental stress and anxiety reduction.
Learning to Say ‘No’ – feeling an obligation towards others when you’re already under pressure, can lead to burnout. Start practicing saying no politely and allowing yourself more time for self-care.
Schedule daily self-care time – mark it in your calendar and stick to the appointment. Read a good book, try deep breathing exercises, listen to a mindfulness app, savour your favourite tea or watch a movie. Spend time on activities that remind you of the enjoyment in life.
Self-care can be applied using small steps. Start by prioritising self-care activities, set some goals, and drop the guilt!
Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a ‘priority’.