By: Sherise Tan
Feeling overwhelmed? Take a page from celebrities like Katy Perry who have embraced meditation and other self-care practices to balance their hectic lives.
The word ‘self-care’ has taken over as a new buzzword for the 21st century and with burnout, anxiety, and depression becoming more commonplace, it’s no wonder that more people are starting to take self-care seriously.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is the art of taking care of one’s own needs. At first glance this might sound like a selfish mindset but, in fact, it is one of your most important responsibilities. Self-care is as important for survival as it is the cornerstone to fostering contentment and happiness.
At is basic level, self-care is about tending to physical needs dictated by our instincts to survive. We all need the nurturing effects of sleep, food, water, shelter, and yes, even sex. These are all basic human desires driven by our instincts.
While most of us can say that our basic instinctual needs are being met–to some degree, at least–human evolution has brought with it new demands. We now live in a world where work, family, and friends are demanding more of our time and energy requiring us to seek creative methods to soothe our souls.
Today, self-care is about understanding what you, as an individual, need emotionally and physically. Self-care is about connecting to your inner self, developing self awareness, and deeply nurturing the human within. Through self understanding you will develop the ability to recognise your needs and set your boundaries. You will intuitively know what you should say “no” to instead of saying “yes” because you want to appease someone or because think you have to.
Self-care is not about being selfish. Instead, self-care is all about putting on the oxygen mask first for yourself before attending to the person next to you. By exercising self-care, you have the ‘oxygen’ or energy to continue powering through life. By helping yourself first, you will be able to help others too.
Why Self-Care Matters
Neglecting your emotional and physical well-being by skipping essential down-time, meals, exercise, and sleep will lead to burn out, anxiety, depression as well as a whole slew of serious health issues.
Finding the balance between ‘doing’ and ‘being’ is a fine line but it’s essential when it comes to energy and self management.
Six Simple Self-Care Tips
To manage this balance, try out some of our simple self-care tips that can help you get started on the process:
- Take Responsibility for Your Own Needs
To gain a better insight into some of your physical needs, ask yourself these simple questions:
–Do you need eight hours of sleep a day?
–Do you need to eat every three hours to manage your energy levels?
–Do you need some quiet time at the end of the day to help you fall asleep?
By understanding your needs, you are taking the first step to assuming the responsibility to fulfil them and bring about a happier, healthier life.
- Learn to Say No and Have Boundaries
Knowing when to say “no” is an important step to learning how to set boundaries. Boundaries are important to keep that pesky friend with incessant needs or “favours, please” at bay. But they are also an important part to developing self discipline.
For example, limiting yourself to only one cup of caffeine a day may make you sleep better at night or make you calmer during the day. By saying no to things that don’t add joy to your life, you are committing to your principles and setting your standards of happiness.
- Scheduling Downtime and Rest
Everyone needs a break sometimes. Being able to find a balance between active and inactive time allows your physical body to rest and rejuvenate and clears the mind. Make it a point to schedule a some downtime so you can decompress and enjoy some peace and quiet. Mediating for 30 minutes before retiring for the evening will help you sleep more soundly and ensure that your body rejuvenates and heals.
- Connecting to Your Inner Self
A strong connection with yourself means looking inward. As we are constantly connected to the Internet, making the time to disconnect has to be a conscious choice. Writing in a journal, meditating, or even praying are just some practises to connect to your inner self. With greater introspection, you can discover just who you are and gain greater self awareness of your needs and boundaries.
- Moving Your Body
Exercise is one of the greatest stress busters. Moving your body for 30 to 60 minutes everyday not only reaps the benefits of physical fitness, but it produces endorphins which can also reduce your stress levels, boost self-esteem, and ward off anxiety and depression.
Having a strong mind-body connection means that what we do with our bodies can also affect our mental state. Practising mind-body activities like yoga and qigong allows us to get in touch with our body, to become more aware of what it is trying to tell us about our physical needs.
- Surrounding Yourself in Nature
Natural therapies like ‘forest bathing’ and ‘cloud gazing’ allow us to surround ourselves and enjoy the benefits of healing in nature. Simply going for a walk in the park or going for a dip in the ocean can be immensely therapeutic for both your body and mind. Taking a time-out from the stress of urban living and connecting to nature is a simple, inexpensive self-care habit to add to your list.
Don’t wait until it’s too late before making your self-care needs a priority. Many people often ignore the symptoms of stress, fatigue, and anxiety until they have a breakdown, burn out, or a major health scare before they start taking self-care seriously. By taking ownership of your needs, you can increase your capacity for energy and manage your physical, emotional, and mental well being with ease.