Why Is Daily Self-Care So Important?
We must practice self-care daily to be happy, healthy and even alive. We really have no choice.
Today many say they don’t have time to eat something healthy, they are too busy – even overwhelmed with all that must be done, have no time to meet up with friends, no time for exercise and are too stressed to meditate.
Health care professionals, teachers and first responders need a very strong self-care daily habit or overload burnout and compassion fatigue can be expected much sooner than later. Our society has become stressful, making the same self-care critical for everyone.
Parents have an obligation to teach their children self-care and to make it a natural and necessary, fun part of every day.
It is not sustainable to try to meet the needs of family, employers, children, let alone friends, before handling our own needs. Airlines tell us to use the air mask on ourselves first or we won’t be able to help anyone else.
Self-care is never selfish. It is survival. Nor is self-care a long list of tasks you must do every day.
Benefits of Self-Care:
- Self-care counteracts daily stress so you can function well, or even optimally.
- Practicing self-care, you automatically refocus on what is important for you and those you love.
- It greatly reduces anxiety and improves sleep.
- Mental and physical health is improved.
- Resiliency to overcome stress is greatly improved.
- Burn out can be avoided or delayed.
- It is an excellent depression fighter, especially combined with exercise.
- Self-care allows each of us to be a better, calmer parent, especially if a child is challenging.
- It allows us all to be a better partner and to set an example for good health and good mood.
- Interestingly, it tends to foster self-compassion.
- Eating healthy foods and drinking pure, fresh water without exception.
What Does Self Care Look Like?
- Meditating for even 5 minutes, or much longer.
- Exercise that is enjoyable. This can be even 15 minutes in the morning and again in the evening.
- Getting up at least every hour and stretching or doing exercises such as quick wall push-ups.
- Perhaps weekly therapy.
- Having food in the house and at work that promotes health and energy.
- Maintenance: haircut, perhaps a massage or body work or an overdue dental or doctor visit.
- Setting firm boundaries with those who negatively affect you or are not supportive.
- Saying no – so that you have time for yourself. Then you can enjoy others more.
- Attending to your own specific mental, physical and spiritual needs.
- Prioritizing good sleep and rigorously practicing “sleep hygiene”.
- Yoga is very helpful for many.
- Taking only 15 minutes every evening to straighten the house, especially the bedroom.
- Stretching your brain with new learning is shown by research to fight dementia and many problems.
- Nature bathing, a Japanese institution, is calming and healing – more so if you can be barefooted.
- Weight bearing exercise for healthy bones (hand weights, heavy weights or your own body weight.)
- Exercises or stretching that improves posture = immediate increase in feel good oxygen.
- Getting 10-20 minutes of natural sun daily improves mood, fighting depression.
- Narrow your food choices to make healthier choices and easier shopping.
- Post what you are grateful for every day somewhere you see it. Your calendar?
- Delegate tasks whenever you can.
- Take steps to improve/condition hair; during exercise is ideal.
- Get rid of clutter to improve sleep and fight anxiety and depression.
- Mindfully complete your tasks, exercise, eating, etc. Paying attention feels good.
- Limit social media and upsetting news.
- Try new ways of moving, exercising, activities or sports.
- Keep your car and home orderly and clean. It makes a huge mental difference.
- Treat yourself.
- Listen to music that is uplifting and not upsetting.
- Make new friends and cultivate acquaintances to see if they should be pals.
- Care for your body: shave, body lotions, sex, skin care.
- Walk and pet your dog, horse or cat (cat may decline to walk).
- Make a point to smile at someone who is alone, hold a door or say Good Morning.
- Compliment a child.
- Cut way back on sugar.
- Be kind to and complement yourself.
- Read, dance, laugh, enjoy – and only pick 3 or 4 items from this list.
You will feel much better after only a few days or less than a week.
By Sharon Valentino, LMFT – Visit http://www.valentinotherapy.com for information and help.