Do you truly and genuinely take care of yourself? Not in the everyday way of eating, sleeping and drinking enough water, but in a way that helps to help you avoid stress and heal yourself?
Self care is a term that is often abused. When most people think of self care, they imagine complicated rituals that are hard to follow. Some may assume that ‘wine o’ clock’ is the next best thing, while others are too tired to think beyond getting through the day, week or year.
What caring for yourself really means is treating yourself kindly. It means caring not only for your body but the rest of you as well. It means being aware of your stress levels, knowing how to manage stress, setting boundaries, and finding balance. It does not have to be complicated at all. In fact, it should be as simple as treating yourself much as you would anyone else you cared about… gently and with compassion and understanding.
Why is it so important to take care of yourself in the first place? Let’s take a look.
Why You Need to Take Care of Yourself
I knew nothing about caring for myself a decade ago. My unhealthy habits and battles to let go of my past brought me to depression and burnout. You can read more about my journey to find out how I learned how to start loving myself enough to care for myself, inside and out. If you are battling to take care of yourself or wondering why it is so important to invest in yourself, here are some things to keep in mind…
Reduce or avoid stress.
Even something as simple as breathing exercises can help to reduce stress. Yoga, meditation, Reiki, essential oils, and other strategies can also do wonders to help you find calm. It takes a bit of work to get into healthier habits. Once you start seeing (and feeling) the difference, it gets easier. A quick breath that can help almost right away is the 4-2-6 breath. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 1 or 2 counts, and breathe out for 6 counts. Conscious breathing helps to increase the supply of oxygen to your brain, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system to promote a state of calmness.
Treat depression and anxiety.
Used on conjunction with medication and therapy, self care can also be an excellent tool for those suffering from depression. It helped me find peace and calm, through yoga and breathing exercises and a bed time ritual. It also helped me learn mindfulness techniques that allowed me to let go of my emotions rather than holding on to them. This played a big role in my road to recovery and I was eventually lucky enough to wean off medication. I do not ever advise going off medication until you have truly reached recovery, however. Rather than replacing medication, self care simply helps as an additional recovery tool.
Improve your well-being.
When you start taking care of yourself, you start to feel better, inside and out. You start to have more energy, you want to see more people, do more things, enjoy work, and truly live life. No more clock watching, waiting for the next best thing. No trying to fill all the voids with alcohol, drugs, parties, shopping, junk food, mindless entertainment, and other unhealthy practices.
Live longer, feel happier.
Finally, when you invest in yourself, you will feel happier over the long-term, too. Happiness is not the same as excitement. True happiness is contentment, whatever your day is doing. It is being calm and content, even when everything is falling apart. When you find that level of happiness, you start to love life. You also have more chance of living longer, getting sick less often and enjoying every moment that you have on this earth.
Start investing in yourself, and you will see why taking care of yourself is quite easily the most important thing you could ever do for your health and happiness.