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What is self-care? Who has time for self-care? Who needs to actually put effort into doing this?
These are questions that are commonly contemplated by people who have not, (and quite frankly, who probably have) heard the term “Self-Care”. Let’s start with a definition. Self-Care is simply putting time aside to replenish your mind, body, emotions and spirit. Sound easy? Possibly..- However, most people do not realize that they are not actually taking care of these aspects of their lives the way they need to: Often times people let their well of health run dry before they notice they are in desperate need of replenishment. For example, I have been feeling “off” the past three days. Slightly sick, very tired and not really myself. I easily attributed each symptom I had to just “having a long day” or just “needing a vacation”. It was not until I went into work today and three coworkers asked me if I was feeling okay– telling me I looked pale and sick–that I finally drew my attention to myself and realized I was, in fact, sick…
Without paying specific attention to our mind, body, emotions and spirit we can easily lose track of ourselves. When specific attention is not given to “us” then we become physically sick, tired, emotionally unable to handle daily stressors, and feel as if we are losing control– losing our individual soul and purpose. The first signs of “fatigue” come as little ripples, not as giant earthquakes. Do not expect that as your emotions and energies deplete that there will be a big “Ah HA” moment. Instead, it is essential to notice the little changes you experience. Some warning signs you may notice are:
1) not doing the little things you used to enjoy (going to the gym, cooking, reading, blogging, meditating, fishing, watching movies, etc.)
2) spending less time relaxing
3) feeling tired more frequently
4) feeling more emotional or feeling more vulnerable to stress
5) not keeping up with housework or errands
6) not finding time to attend to personal relationships
7) not sleeping well in general
8) little signs of feeling “off” or “sick”
9) finding that you do not have the energy to smile or care as much
10) feeling like you are losing yourself
These are just a few warning signs that you may experience. It is important to try and notice these while they are in the “ripple” stage. If you notice that you have passed this and reached the “earthquake” stage then you may notice you are an emotional wreck, you are physically sick and cannot get out of bed, or you are unable to perform necessary daily tasks.
As active humans, we need to ensure we replenish our selves with energy, strength and happiness by bringing awareness to our depleting overall health. In addition to the frequently-thought-of physical health, it is also important to attend to spiritual and intellectual health. This could be engaging in activities that are enjoyable, engaging in religious practices, expanding the mind with knowledge and replenishing the soul. Everyone is different and, therefore, finds that different activities are more beneficial than others. Explore what you enjoy and try to participate in these activities a few times a day. Even a five minute break here-and-there can have profound effects on healing the mind, body, and soul!
So, to answer people’s often contemplated questions: What is self-care?? It is replenishing your mind, body, emotions and spirit. Who has time for self-care? Well, with just 5 minutes a few times a day… then YOU do. Who needs to actually put effort into doing this? Everyone…