Life is busy, but it’s important to take care of yourself. If you consistently feel worn and lack energy to get through your day, you may need to re-evaluate how you’re treating yourself. Chronic lack of sleep, a poor diet, and toxic relationships are all harmful to your body and soul. Resolve to focus on yourself and work on getting your mind, body, and spirit back in working order. You deserve to live a full, happy life.
What is self-care?
The act of self-care involves meeting your own basic needs. When you truly care for yourself, you will make sure you are eating a balanced diet, getting enough rest, and setting healthy boundaries in your relationships. It means loving yourself enough to maintain your overall well-being. Life coach Hannah Braime said:
At its essence, its very core, self-care is about identifying and meeting your needs … It provides us with a chance to rest, replenish, and re-nourish physically, mentally, and emotionally. As children, we rely on our parents and caregivers to meet our needs and take care of ourselves. As adults, we are the only people who can meet our own needs, and that’s what self-care is all about. When we engage in self-care, we send the message to ourselves: “You are worth taking care of.”
Why it’s important
You need self-care to recharge. Constant running and not paying attention to your needs will eventually lead you to break down physically, emotionally, or both. Psychologist Alice D. Domar says it’s important to allow yourself to slow down so you can restore your energy. Domar said:
While so many of us present smart, tough fronts to the world, we still suffer from grave insecurities and unfulfilled dreams. Psychiatrist Alexander Lowen once commented that we can only rise up if we allow ourselves to let down … Taking time for creative play and spiritual sustenance is medicine for the body and soul. It restores meaning to days otherwise filled with hard work and daunting responsibilities.
Taking care of your needs isn’t selfish
Your loved ones may try to make you feel guilty for taking care of your needs first (especially if you have a habit of taking care of them). Don’t let their selfishness hamper your efforts to take good care of yourself. If you aren’t well, how can you effectively help others? Continue to stay aware of your needs and do what you can to stay healthy. Life coach and author Cheryl Richardson says she realized she needed to focus more on herself once she realized the toll it was taking on her:
I needed to quit being a martyr and focus on getting my needs met. I had to stop expecting others to read my mind and start being direct about what I wanted. I was challenged to try asking for help long before I needed it. Rather than [complain] about how others had let me down, I had to see my frustration as an indication that something needed to change.
How to care for yourself
Pay attention to the conversations you have with yourself. What are the thoughts running through your head? Be aware of the things you say to yourself throughout the day, and try to replace any negative thoughts with ones that are self-affirming.
Are you always running to the next appointment or trying to meet a deadline? Are you always on the go? It’s time to slow down and take a break. Schedule some down time so you can recharge and re-center yourself.
Remember to ask for what you need. As Richardson mentioned in her book, expecting others to anticipate your needs doesn’t work in the long-run. It will only lead to frustration and resentment. Learn how to be more vocal when it comes to getting your needs met.
Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo