How Are you Treating Yourself?
As you begin to read this article, think about the things that you love to do, enjoy doing, and things that are meaningful to you.
While you are identifying your favorites, ask yourself, when was the last time you took part in those activities? If it's been a while take a moment to ask yourself why. Is it time, money, or something else?
We have to be real, we all live stressful lives, whether that is personally or that we are surrounded by stressors. We sometimes have a hard time stepping back from the daily stressors to give our personal selves some attention. We spend a lot of time working, running around, and making everyone else in our lives are happy, that we sometimes forget to make sure we are making ourselves happy. The same kindness that we treat others with is the same kindness that we need to treat yourself with! We are all deserving of self care!
What is self care?
Self care is a broad term that refers to the acts of you doing anything that results in positive and healthy attributions for oneself. It allows you to take a step back to rest, recover, and recuperate from life. It also plays a role with self compassion, how we feel about ourselves.
Imagine a car. You take the car to get the oil changed, fill the tires up with air, get it washed, and fill it up with gas. In other words, we have to take care of the car. If we’re not taking care of the car it will eventually break down. Our human bodies work in the same manner. We need to take care of us, we need our bodies to last us a lifetime! Unlike a car, we can’t just buy a new body. Here are some reasons and ways to start implementing self care into your routines!
Benefits of self care?
Decreased blood pressure
Decreased stress levels
Decreased risk of disease
Increased immune system function
Reduced sympathetic nervous system activity
Increased heart rate variability values
Increased self-esteem and self-awareness
And so much more!
Types of self care?
Tapping into your creative side by stimulating the mind. Doing activities that require you to learn a skill, and practice that skill. Learning to challenge yourself and staying curious about new knowledge. This style allows you to expand your mind and find activities that you may have not tried or liked before. Examples: Taking an art class, reading, joining a group, and writing.
Being able to use your surroundings to calm the mind. This type of self care allows you to be present, living in the moment. You will utilize your senses such as touch, smell, sight, and sound. I like to call this self care approach, being one with nature! Examples: swim in the lake, listening to birds in the park, meditate in the woods, and walking through nature.
Learning to understand your emotions is key to knowing when your body needs a rest or is feeling recovered. Knowing that it’s okay to be stressed, sad, or happy. Learning your body's way of communicating can help you determine the appropriate actions needed to deal with any situation. Examples: journaling, embracing the emotions you’re currently feeling, cry when you need to, laugh when it’s funny, and smile from excitement, and talking with people.
This is more than just being religious. Yes, religion is a form of self-care. Spiritual relates to learning and understands your motives, values, and beliefs. In other words your morals. Examples: praying, collaborating with an organization that is meaningful to you, self affirmations, going to church, and finding meaning and value in your daily activities.
Taking control of your health and well-being. We talked about becoming in tune with your emotions but you also need to become aware of your body physically. That may include headaches, stomach, digestive issues, physical injuries, managing body composition. Examples: going to the gym, getting annual physicals, yoga, going for a walk or jog, managing stress, and making sure you are sleeping enough. On the flip side, you might find self care in skipping the gym, staying home, and watching TV.
The connection between you and other people, whether that is through media or in person interactions. Taking the things you love to do and being able to share that with others. It also gives us a sense of togetherness. That you are not the only one going through the same struggles, and by helping you, you may be able to help someone else. Examples: going out with friends, a movie night, support groups, and join out to local events. This could also mean that you stay in for the night, you go to bed early, enjoying dinner or a treat alone.
It’s important to be satisfied with your current role at work. Enjoy your career! The old saying still stands, “If you enjoy what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life!” Learning how to cope with specific stressors at work is key. Also, being able to separate work life from home life. Examples: handheld stress ball, treadmill desk, physioball chair, getting up and moving, walking during lunch, outside meetings, being involved with your office's corporate wellness.
All in all, you have to find what works for you. Find something that you enjoy doing and do it. Don't second guess, just go for it! Sure, there is a ton of science behind stress, cortisol, and how it affects our overall health, but let’s keep it straight to the point! There is no question that when you are taking a step back and having fun doing what you love to doing, you instantly feel better. There is a satisfaction that just takes over. With all of these benefits, you will have more to offer yourself and others. It’s probably one of the hardest things to do, taking a step back, and putting yourself first, but it pays off. If you are run down you will eventually feel potential negative side effects.
Keep in mind that self care practices will differ from person to person. What is therapeutic to you may not be for another, and that is okay! The Linked Fit family wants to empower you to make time for yourselves, even if it’s only for 5 minutes! You work way too hard to not treat yourself!