I’m sure by now you’ve heard of self care. This is something a lot of people are talking about these days. But, not a lot of people are practicing it. So, why not? I ask a lot of my clients what their self care plan looks like. And, the number one answer I get is, ‘What is that?’
Then they Google, Why Should I Take Care Of Myself?
Honestly, I think that is kind of sad. People are too busy working or taking care of others, to even think about taking care of themselves. This may come from a very old belief, that taking care of yourself is selfish. Believe it or not, when people Google self care they ask what it is rather than how to do it?
Many things play a part. Your gender, race and socioeconomic status. Believe it or not, some believe you must be rich to practice self care. That is total nonsense. There is no truth to it. Don’t believe the lie that self care isn’t for you. If you don’t have a self care plan, then you need to start one today.
It can be simple. Instead of rushing through your shower, slow down a little. Wash your hair with some nice shampoo, and take your time. Massage your scalp. Instead of being on your phone until the very second you fall asleep at night. Turn off your phone, and take a warm bubble bath.
Play with your children. If you don’t have children, then play with your pets. Go to a park and swing on the swings. Unfortunately, play is underrated in our society. You are taught to work hard, and work long hours. This doesn’t leave much time for play.
I hear this all the time. I only slept a few hours last night, or I worked the entire weekend. I think to myself how sad. You are missing out on so much. Here we are in May, and I’m wondering how many of you have scheduled your summer vacation? Summer will be here before you know it.
I can already hear it, ‘I don’t have enough time or money.’ There are so many places to see and go to, out there. If you can’t afford to fly somewhere, then drive somewhere. Set up a budget, and then plan accordingly.
If you still feel like you just can’t do it, then take a look at your mindset. You may be stuck in a very old belief system. The first step is to examine where it came from. Growing up how did your family feel about self care? Did they talk about it or practice it? If you answered no, then you may have some old issues lingering in your mind that you need work through.
You should be able to set aside time and money for yourself, and feel good about. Maybe, you got the guilt trip growing up a lot from your parents. If that’s the case, you need to start saying nice things to yourself today. Like, you are worth it or it’s alright to take a break.
Self care doesn’t have to be complicated. It can start with 10 minutes a day. You probably work in an office. I want you to take a 10 minute break where you go outside. Breathe in the fresh air. This is also a great source of Vitamin D. Do you eat lunch at your desk. If you do, then you need to get away from that. When you are at your desk your mind is on work. So, you really aren’t getting a break. The next time you eat lunch go outside or to a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Also, stay away from your phone. You will actually feel refreshed when you get back to your desk. This will help make your more productive in the long run.
If you’ve read this far, then you are probably wondering what the benefits are of self care. Meaning, why should I take care of myself? That is a good question. There are many benefits, for both you and your family.
Why Should I Take Care Of Myself?
Here are the top 20 reasons:
- It will make you a better caregiver.
- If you have mood swings, it will help alleviate them.
- You will feel better about yourself.
- It will be easier to set boundaries.
- You will feel more motivated.
- You will be more decisive.
- You will feel more focused.
- You won’t have as many aches and pains.
- You won’t have the urge to binge eat.
- You will be a better planner.
- You won’t feel guilty for every little thing.
- Your health will improve.
- You will have more fun.
- You will prevent burn out from happening.
- You will actually have more time for fun in your life.
- You won’t take everything, so personally.
- You won’t be so regretful about the past.
- You won’t have ongoing anxiety about the future.
- You will be less stressed, which means you will be able to function at full capacity.
- You will be more aware of what your limitations are.
So, now you know the benefits but may still be wondering how to do it or when to start? There is no better time than the present to start. You can make it a ritual in your life. By doing this, you are more likely to keep doing this.
Five years ago I started my own mindfulness practice. It is my morning ritual. I do this before checking my email or messages. I set aside 10 minutes every morning. It has made a huge difference in my life.
Now, when stressful situations arise I am able to handle them without getting defensive. I think as human beings we are wired to get defensive. Meaning when you feel attacked, then you feel you must make it right by defending yourself. This usually makes things worse. If this is you, then I recommend you start your self care practice today.
I have another ritual, after I practice mindfulness I have a cup of coffee with my cat. She just sits on my lap and purrs. Now, if you are a coffee person, then you know things aren’t the same until you have a cup of coffee.
Now, I am ready to start my day. You really don’t know how you day is going to go. Sure, you may have it all planned out. But, on your way to the office someone cuts you off on the freeway. You know it’s their fault. But, you don’t have to let it ruin your morning.
Maybe, you don’t feel you get the recognition you deserve at work. Rather, that sitting at your desk all day with that thought running through your mind you can focus your attention elsewhere. Or, maybe you can actually work up the nerve to say what you need to say to your boss.
Now, don’t get me wrong just because you start practicing self care today, it doesn’t mean your life will change drastically overnight. But, overtime you will begin to feel better about yourself. You will eventually let go of the need to blame others and take responsibility for yourself. This also means you can’t change anyone else.
Now, I know sometimes things are out of your control. You can’t predict when your company will outsource your job. Or, maybe your spouse has ADHD and has chosen to do nothing about it. But, by practicing self care you will be able to know when it’s time to let go.
If you liked, Why Should I Take Care Of Myself? Here Are the Top 20 Reasons. You will find more tips for self care at, Taking Care Of Yourself.
I am Lianne Avila and I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. I have had the honor of helping many people learn the importance of prioritizing themselves, and thrive. You can sign up for my free newsletter for free weekly advice on reducing stress, self care and relationships. You can call (650) 892-0357 or email [email protected], to learn more about the services I provide.