Work is becoming increasingly overwhelming lately. You have dozens of projects lining up and your calendar is crammed with tasks that are overdue. In order to finish work on time, you begin to skip meals, skimp on sleep, stop working out for days and cancel out your social life completely.
As fluffy and counterproductive as self-care may sound, it can actually make things easier – especially during times of stress. Most of us grow up believing that the reward is bigger when we give more. By the time we reach adulthood, we are already wired to believe that pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion always pays off. Unfortunately, we are too tired and stressed to understand that we can barely compose a coherent sentence, let alone finish tasks productively.
While it is easy to believe that hard work pays off, it is important to understand that it can backfire. Your performance, your focus and your skills are worn. You may be working hard but you’re probably not efficient.
Self-care does not involve your healthcare provider, a nurse or even your family. Self-care is dependent on you. You decide when you can eat, workout, sleep, take a relaxing bath or give yourself a spa-day off. Self-care can be as simple as just a few basic habits that simply make you feel better. This can be soaking in a Epsom salt bath, spritzing a lavender essential oil infused mist on your pillow, putting on a clay mask, finally using those scented candles, getting a manicure, taking a break from your to do list to do that workout, drinking plenty of water, eating healthy, getting 7 hours of sleep and spending time with your loved ones.
Aside from the obvious benefit of feeling better, we’ve rounded up some less predictable benefits of sticking to a self-care routine so that you can start right away:
1. YOU BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE
You can slow down in life in several ways. These can include learning how to say ‘NO’ to low priority commitments, meditating for 10 minutes before bed (or first thing in the morning), making time every day to be active or even just a few light stretches on busier days.
Slowing down is an excellent form of self-care that can bring you to the present moment, helping you focus on what is really important
2. IT’S A BREAK FROM STRESS
It only takes a one-hour massage or even soaking in a bath filled with bubbles (and your favourite essential oil) to escape stress and take an emotional vacation – even if it is completely temporary. Sure, it may be as short as 15 minutes, but taking a mental break can stimulate your relaxation response making you feel less stressed, refreshed and energised to take on more tasks with a clear mind.
3. IT GIVES YOU SOME TIME ALONE
Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert or anything in between, understand that most people can use some “me time” to boost your functioning.
Relaxing alone can help you swiftly reach a state of meditation, allowing yourself time to reflect and allow your problems to settle at the back of your mind. For some the thought of being by yourself can be the hardest thing to do but actually for most, some regular alone time (even 5 minutes) can really make the world of difference.
4. IT BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Getting plenty of rest, going to bed on time, working out, eating healthy, practicing mindfulness and taking warm baths have one major thing in common: they activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This system puts your body in its rest and digest mode, allowing your body to restore following a busy day.
Including more relaxing activities into your routine can help you cope with a frenzied lifestyle. This allows the body to spend more time developing its defenses and become more capable of withstanding nasty microbes that make us sick when we are overworked and overwhelmed.
5. YOU’LL FIND YOUR TRUE SELF
How many times a day do you actually stop to think what you love to do or what you can do to make yourself feel genuinely amazing?
While a few can come up with a list easily, many cannot. When we depart from childhood, we are already conditioned to think that play is for children only. We even begin to believe that doing too much for ourselves can be selfish.
Not thinking about yourself can make you search for fulfillment from external sources. With self-care, you begin to connect with yourself and come up with things you love without any self-doubt during times when you have to feel better.
If you that feeling of burnout resonates with you, go check out our New Champion Me Series which focuses on dedicating 15 minutes every day to you, including sessions such as exercise, meditation and alone time and helps you to prioritise your self care! Find out more HERE
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