Self-care - an important part of life!

Related imageI used to laugh when I heard people saying that self care is important. I mean, sure, taking care of ourselves sounded important. But society makes it sound like self-care requires you to get a manicure, plan a vacation, buy expensive products, eat meals out, etc.

And to be honest, this sounded EXHAUSTING. Think about it: you get home from work after a long day. Do you have the energy to go to the gym? Maybe not. Do you have the money at this moment to purchase a spa package every weekend? Maybe not. Those were my thoughts exactly. So, was I a failure at self-care? Was there something wrong with me?

After speaking with a few role models, mentors, and close loved ones, I began to learn something critical: self-care doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Self-care can mean simply taking the time to close your eyes and be thankful for the day passing in peace. Self-care can mean soaking your feet in water after a long day at work. Self-care can mean turning your phone off and chatting with a loved one or friend for 15 minutes, rather than checking emails.

Another thing that I learned is how important self-care really is. When I get caught up in work and life - as I'm sure we all do - the last thing on my mind is self-care. I focus on what I need to get done, and I plan on how I will do it. But soon enough, this led to burning out. I felt tired. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I didn't feel the 'spark' that I once felt about work, studying, relationships, myself, and life. It was only when I started to FORCE myself to engage in self-care did I realize how necessary it was.
Image result for self care tips
At first, I did not want to stop working at night - there was simply too much to do, and I would fall behind if I took a break. But the only way out of this messiness was to slow down. So, I scheduled in 'me time'. I forced myself, each week, to set a self-care goal. One week, it was turning my computer off from work 10 minutes early so that I could play a puzzle. The other week, it was coming home from work and writing about my feelings and my day. Another time, it was planning one fun thing to do with my family during the weekend.

Of course, this was very much forced at the beginning. I did not like feeling that I was 'wasting time' not working. But after forcing myself to do it for a few months, I realized that if I did not take time 'out' to do these things, I would have been miserable - at work, at home, and within my soul. Starting to take time for myself, away from the hustle and bustle of life, allowed me to rejuvenate. It helped me see that while life was busy and crazy, I could only fulfill my responsibilities, goals, and dreams if I took care of myself first.

Image result for self care tipsAnd to different people, self-care means different things. Think of strategies that serve you, things that brighten up your mood, strengthen your body, fuel your spark, and engage you. It does not have to be timely, expensive, or effortful. Whatever you choose to do to take care of yourself, simply ensure that you do it. And don't expect it to come easy at first. Yes, you may have to force yourself to do some self-care at the start. And maybe some days, you won't feel like taking a break because life will be too busy. But if you stick with it, if you insist within yourself that you will take the time 'out' to nagged in self-care, you will soon reap the benefits. You will feel stronger, brighter, and happier - physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Think of it this way - would you tell your friend to work all-day, everyday, without resting? Would you allow your car to go without cleaning, filling up on gas, fixing the tires, etc? Would you allow your pet to run around all day without eating, playing, getting a bath and haircut, etc? Likely not. Sometimes, when self-care is too hard or life is too busy - or I simply feel 'icky and don't want to do it', I remind myself that if I am not feeling my best, I cannot do the rest.

Life is tough, but so are you. 

Image result for self care if you don't feel like it

Popular posts from this blog

Starvation 'feels' good...?

Lessons from infants: 'Taking it all in'

Watch My Latest Presentation: What Future Doctors Need to Know About ED