How many of us let our cars run out of gas or let our cell phone batteries die? I would hazard to say that very few of us do that unless we aren’t able to get access to gas or power. Now consider how often you run yourself ragged or get to the point of burn0ut and exhaustion. How often does that happen for you?
I know that self-care is a buzz word and for my parent’s and grandparent’s generation they would swear that they never did all the pampering stuff, but this is not a new concept. Taking time to be with friends, crafts, going fishing are all forms of self-care. The reason there is so much hype about self-care is that it is has a real and lasting positive effect on your physical and mental health. I recommend reading Self-care:4 ways to nourish body and soul put out by Harvard Health Blog.
Many forums out there will give you great suggestions of ideas of what to do for self-care, but they don’t always talk about when to practice self-care.
What is the answer?
As often as you can!
This article is really timely for me along with everyone else who may be reading it. I was raised with a strong work ethic that really focused on keeping busy and always doing something. Even when watching TV I tend to be knitting or crafting. With that, I tend to work long hours and although I admonish my clients to take time out, I can go days without taking a breath and doing things that recharge me. Having self-care as the focus of the week reminds me to have self-love. For the video that accompanies this article, there were lots of opportunities to engage in self-care activities to not only show you but also show me the fun and benefits of taking the time to recharge.
One question I have been asked is, how did you know when you needed to practice self-care? Well, I used to say, when I noticed my family walking on eggshells around me or when I started feeling ‘crispy’ around my figurative edges. By that point, I was in fact already drained and burnt out, not just crispy like well-done bacon. It takes a lot of time to recover when you drain yourself to that point and sometimes you never feel like you have quite reached that fully charged state.
Now I would say to aim to do something that recharges you every day. Other than the basics like getting 7-9 hours sleep a night, drinking lots of water and be physically active, there is a myriad of things people do to recharge. I recharge in nature, be it a walk in the woods or going for a snowshoe in the lightly falling snow. I have many hobbies including spinning, knitting, building and stained glass. Meditation and mindfulness are part of my regular recharge practice too along with so much more.
When I take the time to practice self-care and recharge every day I find that I am sick less often and if I get sick it doesn’t last very long, I have more energy and my thoughts flow easier. Stress seems to not have the same grip on me and stressful situations don’t linger for hours, days or months. I also find that I am FAR more productive than when continue to run the hamster wheel rather than taking a break and recharging.
I am going to put this friendly challenge out there for you and for me as well. List your favourite self-care activities and post them on your fridge. I invite you to do at least one activity from your list each day. It doesn’t have to be the same thing every day, you can pick something new each day or any combination that suits your fancy. This invitation is to try this for 2 weeks and let me know in the chat what you notice about yourself and about what others may say about you. This is our own social experiment if you are willing to try it out and see if something shifts for you.
If you wish to follow my progress I will add it to my days of gratitude through my Facebook Page. Please feel free to comment with your personal observations too!