Say YES to Self-Care

Practising self-care is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health. Without self-care your life can quickly spin out of control and with that your mental health will become compromised as well. This is true especially if you are that person who is always doing everything for everyone else.

What is self-care?

Simply put self-care is basically just caring for yourself. It means you love yourself enough to make time for you. The benefits of practicing self-care are endless. Not only will you start to value and love yourself more, you will also lead a much healthier and happier life.

Benefits of self-care

Self-care increases resilience. So if you are feeling emotional and the smallest thing can set you off, it might mean that you are running low on resilience. Resilience is that part of us that enable us to handle life’s stressors. Whether we experience a lot of work stress, personal challenges or just normal life stressors, it doesn’t matter – there is still only so much one person can handle on a daily basis. All these little (or big) stressors add up and we start to feel that it is all just too much. We start to feel overwhelmed and lose control of our emotions. Not long after we might reach a state of burnout. Self-care can stop this from happening.

When practising self-care you take time to unwind and recharge. That means no more running on empty. Again running on empty leads to burnout. With burnout comes a lot of anxiety and stress. The stress that you experience just makes everything worse and so the cycle continues.

Self-care equates self-love. When you love yourself you are already in a much better space mentally. Self-love means no more criticising yourself. No more negative self-talk. No more putting yourself down for things that are out of your control. Self-love means a happier and more confident you! More confidence also means that you will be in a better place to excel in your work and personal life.

Ways of practicing self-care

  1. Do more of what you love. That thing that gives you energy and recharges you – do that.
  2. Make time for your hobbies. If you don’t have one, find something that interests you and pursue that. It can be anything from painting to collecting rocks.
  3. Get some exercise. This can be intense exercise or something simple as taking a walk in nature, yoga or meditation.
  4. Eat healthy meals, and don’t skip lunchtime either. Mind and body works together, so if your body isn’t healthy your mind won’t be either.
  5. Get enough sleep. How much sleep you need will differ from person to person but usually 6 to 8 hours a night will do it. Not getting enough sleep has a very negative effect on our mental health and how we cope during the day.
  6. Spend time with friends or loved ones. All work and no play makes for a very unhealthy mind … and talking to a friend is a great way to unburden yourself.
  7. Spoil yourself. Get that haircut, get those nails done, buy the book you wanted to read.
  8. Make some time for just you. This is when you really unwind and just focus on YOU. Take a long bath, have some good coffee, get a massage – just relax.
  9. Practise mindfulness. Mindfulness will help you to be more present in the moment, to enjoy life and see the beauty around you. It will slow you down and restore calm and peace.
  10.  Set boundaries. If you are prone to giving all of you to others this is the most important point. Without boundaries people will start taking advantage of you. There is nothing wrong with saying no once in a while.

If you look at this list of 10 ways to practise self-care and you had to give a point for everyone you practice, how much did you score? For most people it would be pretty low. It is so easy to find excuses like “I am too busy, there is no time” or “There are other thing that I have to do that is more important”, but the truth is that nothing is as important as you and your metal health. If you don’t look after yourself and reach burnout or have a breakdown how are you going to do all those things that are so important anyway?

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