What is self-care and how can it help you?
Have you ever been on the airplane and heard the Flight Attendent announce “in case of emergency, put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others”? Well, that’s great advice that we can use in our daily lives as well, because the better we can care for ourselves, the better we can care for others.
Self-care is about giving YOU the best of yourself, not just giving yourself the rest of you, which is like the “leftovers” of you. Sometimes eating leftovers is great – especially if it’s from something you enjoyed the first time around, but sometimes leftovers are only enough to sustain us, not enliven us.
Self-care is the key to improve yourself in various aspects. It's a healthy, active choice to choose yourself in your own beautiful way and can help to maintain balance in your life. Selfcare doesn’t need to take hours, or cost anything, and it can be as simple as choosing to get enough sleep, feeding yourself well, and doing some movement or exercise each day.
Here are a few ideas from our chiropractors at 22 Health to help you take it a few steps further –
- You can make a list of things that you do even when you don’t want or need to. While this can be a necessity, depending on your responsibilities, practice saying “No” to those things that don’t require a “Yes” for you to have a successful day. Remember, this is a practice and you’ll get better as you go.
- Apologize less – sometimes an “excuse me” is more appropriate. This one is generally more for women as we tend to over-apologize, which I have found, can lead to discounting oneself.
- Take a few minutes to think less about things – mental stress can be as powerful as physical stress and running things around our minds creates physical changes and chemical releases in our body. Mindfullness and meditation help us practice having more space around our experiences.
- Find an activity that brings you joy – and then make and take the time to do it! For example: I began learning and practicing Argentine Tango a few years ago and found that it was not only amazingly fun, but has also helped me to become a better person on many levels.
- Make a good coffee/tea/snack and let yourself enjoy it without interruption. Or, go for a long peaceful drive, meet up with friends, and make moments to laugh as laughter reduce stress. In other words, take some time to enjoy your present moment.
Also, remember that Self-care isn't a one-time deal, it is a continuous habit of activities and choices that soothe your body and your mind. You can add some love, care, attention, and respect for yourself into your daily routine. Start some meditation, oxygenate yourself with deep breathing, or just take a moment and relax. Go for a morning walk or sometimes, just sit there, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and feel the morning breeze, light, and listen to the birds chirping or the cars passing by – take a moment to focus your attention on what is happening in that moment.
Social media, where it is the source of information it is the source of stress as well. Unplug yourself from all this at least for a period of time to ease your mind. Check-in with your emotions, write out your thoughts, give yourself positive feedback.
Spend high quality time with yourself as often as possible because you have this life, not just to survive, but to live!