If you've ever flown then you've heard the airline safety announcement that in the event of an emergency oxygen masks will drop down and that you should "secure your own mask before assisting others." I always thought it was interesting that they made a point of included that note in the safety message and I've come to realize what a great reminder it is especially for women. In many cases in an emergency situation we will immediately become concerned for our loved ones and risk our lives for them. This reminder to "secure your own mask" is critical because the best way you'll be able to care for others is if you have FIRST taken care of yourself. Now the beauty of this reminder is that it is true for all moments of our lives, not just emergencies. This is where self-care comes in. You must take care of your own wellbeing in order to be able to contribute and care for others. For many women, especially when they become wives and mothers, they end up putting themselves last and although it may seem at first to be a generous sacrifice it can quickly become detrimental to yourself and all those who rely on you.
Poor self-care habits prevent you from fully reaching your potential. If you are constantly taking care of everything else but YOURSELF, you eventually spread yourself too thin and may eventually break. I am sure you can think of a time when stress had the best of you that even your sleep schedule was off and you were constantly tired, causing you to not perform at your fullest potential. Or that one time you let a bad day dictate your life and felt depressed that you spent your day on the couch and only ate junk food, and it prevented you from accomplishing goals for that day. The examples are endless.
Self-care is for all seasons life takes you through. You don’t have to have to have a successful career or be in your lowest times to participate in the act of self-care. Whether life is good or when life feels like a slap on the face, you should always take time to care for yourself. But, the decision still lies in your hands. Self-care probably sounds like one of those redundant advice you got growing up and your reply was usually “I know I know”, but bottom line is without discipline the simple self-care tips become harder to implement.
Below are some ways you can apply in order to care for yourself. We recommend starting small and eventually having a daily routine.
Attitude - Before you will be able to make and stick to self care habits or routine you have to have the right attitude towards it. Self care time is not a luxury or wasted time. Self care is essential so that you can continue to be your best self and perform at your highest potential. What ever rejuvenates you whether it is a trip to the spa, a netflix binge, a night out, a hike, sleeping in, reading a book you must tell yourself that that activity is just as important as the “work” you do. The self care activities allow you to do your work, so do not feel guilty for taking this time.
Exercise- You’ve probably heard it since your first physical education class, and it remains to stand that exercising is good for you and it leads to a healthier lifestyle. When you exercise you feel good. You improve your mood, become a healthier person not only physically but mentally, and even boosts your energy. Exercising preserves you internally and brightens your glow in the physical.
Healthy eating- You are what you eat. If you are constantly filling yourself up with junk then you will most likely feel like junk. I mean of course we all have those occasions where we just can’t help but splurge on the 5 guys burger or the cheesy pizza from papa johns, but unhealthy eating shouldn’t be an everyday habit. Most self-esteem issues stem from weight problems so evaluate your diet; you are in charge of your health.
“Me” Days: Schedule days that are all about you. Days where you don’t have any deadlines to meet but do what YOU want to do. It can be a day where you catch up with your shows, sleep in till noon and do absolutely nothing or even taking yourself on a date; a day to reward yourself for your hard work.
Mental Recharge – Find time in your busy schedule, every day, and relax your mind. Most people may complain about not having time, but you must make time. Turn your phone off and for a few minutes focus on you alone. Forget everything else happening in your world and your surroundings. Go to a quiet room, embrace the silence and let any stressful thoughts or decisions that have to be made take a break from running through your mind. Have a mental vacation to your favorite spot in the world and enjoy the warm weather or cold air. Invite peace, joy, and happiness to strengthen your mind. When your mind is recharged you become a powerful individual.
Spiritual recharge- One day a lady shared that the best compliment she ever received was one telling her that she had a beautiful spirit. I believe that who we are is a reflection on our spiritual lives. If we feed our inner being with negativity we produce negativity. So whether it is through prayer, meditation, or attending service, make time to edify, build, and care for your spiritual being.
Moreover talk about self care and listen to others. Often it is easy for us to spot when someone else needs to stop and recharge. Very likely your loved ones have told you to take time for yourself and you’ve probably ignored them more than you listened - thinking that you don’t need it and there is too much to do. Work and errands will never end they will always be there. You just want to put yourself in the best position to handle them.