Self-care is kind of complicated. Wouldn’t you agree?
Ok… maybe not the act itself. I mean, how complicated is it to pour a bath and relax?
But actually making time to take care of yourself. Yea. That can be complicated.
Life is so incredibly full of obligations. Every single one of us have people who depend on us. We’re needed. We care deeply about those people and their needs and want so badly to provide for them.
On top of that we often feel passionate about our work. But, even when we don’t necessarily feel so passionate about what we’re doing, there’s still the pressure to get everything done as perfectly as possible. Because people are typically depending on us for that goodness too.
But where oh where exactly do we fit our own needs into that equation?
See… it really is complicated.
And sometimes that complication can make it a struggle to make time for self-care. But it’s so important that we do.
So what exactly do we do when self-care feels impossible or overwhelming?
Let’s talk about it…
What Happens When We Neglect Our Self-Care:
With all life’s obligations, the easiest thing to put on the back burner is often you. Your needs coming last can feel like the simplest option. Sometimes it’s as if that’s the best way to make sure that no one gets let down.
But that couldn’t be any further from the truth…
When we don’t make time for ourselves we tend to burn out. And ultimately that means that we have less to give and less energy to share.
Everyone around you benefits when you take the time to take care of yourself!
But don’t just take my word for it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when caregivers neglect their self-care we often see these kinds of consequences:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Pour concentration and brain fog
- Irritability and mood swings
- Weakened immune function and increased risk of infection
But even if you aren’t a caregiver, your self-care still matters.
Dr. Shainna Ali, mental health clinician, says that neglecting your self-care needs (regardless of your profession) can:
- Increase feelings of anxiety and anger
- Make you feel more distracted
- Cause fatigue
- Reduce relationship satisfaction
- Lower self-esteem
- Decrease feelings of empathy and compassion
- Increase the risk of health issues like heart disease and depression
Uhm, yea, no thanks!
But, with that in mind…
How Do You Work Self-Care Into a Complex, Busy Lifestyle?
The most important thing to know is that self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. And it definitely isn’t one size fits all. Whatever you need in this moment is perfectly fine.
Dr. Beth Rush, a Mayo Clinic neuropsychologist, has this to say about your self-care:
“If you’re feeling frustrated, short on time, impatient, you have to go back to the basics of: ‘Have I done anything for myself today? Should I take a minute? Do I have to be the one who does it all? We tend to think of self-care as always going out and doing something like getting our nails done or going to the gym, but sometimes self-care is about just pausing. I think that’s something we recognize is becoming more important: learning how to slow down.” (source)
Woah! Read that goodness again! Sometimes self-care is about just pausing and learning how to slow down.
Whether it’s a minute of deep breathing at your desk before a meeting, a moment on a park bench on your lunch break, a little walk around the block, or some doodling while you decompress, you’re still rocking it!
Yes, it’s wonderful (and even important) to take the time to go for a massage, get your hair cut, shop, bathe for an hour, get lost in a good book and all of those other wonderful self-care things when you need and have the chance to do so.
But if you find yourself in a state of complete overwhelm and can’t imagine doing one. more. thing. (Even if that thing is for you), know that it’s ok to just stop for a minute. Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated.
Essentially, what matters most is that you make time for you. What exactly you choose to accomplish in that time doesn’t particularly matter. It’s more about the result – de-stressing, unwinding, relaxing and recharging. Whatever calms you is great! That’s your self-care hot spot.
And what that might be changes from day to day (and sometimes even minute to minute). That’s totally ok!
Connecting with yourself and asking those questions that Dr. Beth Rush encouraged you to ask is a fantastic way to find out what you need right now:
Have I done anything for myself today?
Should I take a minute?
Do I have to be the one who does it all? (The answer to this question is usually no – I’ve had to learn that the world won’t fall apart if I back away for a second. It’s not always an easy thing to remember, but I promise that it’s true for you too.)
Whatever the final answer may be, indulge. Even if it’s as simple as taking a moment to breathe. If it helps you do those 4 important things, de-stress, unwind, relax and recharge, then it is so incredibly worth it.
And I promise you that you aren’t letting anyone down when you take a moment for yourself. When you respond to your own needs you’re better able to be present for others. Everyone wins!
What are some simple self-care activities that you like to indulge in? Any advice for those struggling to make time for themselves? Share your lovely thoughts with us in the comments sweet friend. I’m looking forward to seeing your ideas and suggestions!
Health and love,
Thought of the day: You are so incredibly worthy of your own love and care.
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