Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Self Care- The art of looking after yourself

With January often come goals settings and resolution making which is great. However, we often forget that we also need to include time for ourselves. Self-care -or looking after yourself. I have indeed included this alongside my other goals this year because I realized that unless you make it on par with the importance of the rest of your life and goals, it will be pushed on a back burner. I have always been a fan of self - care. Not the one that cosmetics industry tries to sell you but the necessary kind of self-care. Because in the world where being overworked and always busy is apparently something to strive for, taking time out for yourself, whether it is 5 minutes, an hour or a full day is an act of rebellion towards society like that. So stick a middle finger to the never taken lunch breaks, emails at 10 pm or mindless social media scrolling. Why? Because it is good for you.    

I always find it amusing that there is so much advice for people who hate their jobs- quit your 9-5! Get your dream job! However, what about if you love what you do?  Or you have a vocation and you can't imagine doing anything else (I am looking at you medics). You will often find that it is these people who are first in, last out, never take their lunch breaks and generally put everyone else before their own health and wellbeing. This can lead to fatigue, strain on the mental and physical health, which in turn leads to burnout. It is easy to start hating the thing that ones brought you so much joy.  Somewhere along the line it has become acceptable to always be tired, to feel guilty about taking a break and to pack our diaries with things every available second. This is just madness!  I imagine it is even worse for young people. The immense pressure that we are all under is crumbling our physical and mental health. We need to make our wellbeing a priority again. Not because it is yet another thing to strive for and put on our to-do list, but because we fundamentally need to do this for our health - both mental and physical. 

                                         Yoga is not for everyone but it works for me 

I call it self-care but really, it can be depicted by many words depending on what you call taking time out for yourself. Self-care can be anything from having time in your diary to do what you want to do or what is important to you (cuddle your children/dog/cats or seeing your friends) to setting some healthy habits, like weekly exercise classes, eating healthier, or creating some positive mind-set changes. Anything, which makes you feel good and makes you feel on top of your game. If Yoga and making Kale chips is not for you, do not despair. We all have our own ways. For me it is being outside in the hills, preferable exercising, having some time in my diary for nothing specific but what takes my fancy at the time, having a digital detox every now and then, having a brew and staring at the fire, reading and then and spending quality time with my family and friends. 

                             Road trip with the girls- top way to recharge your batteries

If your job requires you to be in the office 9-5 chances are that you need some time spent outside anddoing some exercise. On the other hand, if you are an outdoor instructor and you spend 6 days a week taking groups out into the hills, you will probably need some time to sit down in a warm house and relax on the sofa. 

                  Sometimes self-care has many forms- including coffee and cake 

Self-care does not need to expensive either. In fact, you will often find that the best self-care is free - fresh air, sleep, friends, and exercise like walking or going for a run.

                                     Running is free so make the most of it 

Don't have time? Make time. You make time by making something your priority. I watched this Ted talk which made me question how much time I actually have. The point that the speaker made is that if you don't do something, it is usually not because you don't have time but because you don't make it a priority. So plan for your down time just as you plan meetings and holidays. Still don't have time? Have a think about your goals; you might just be doing too much. Because being busy does not mean that you are actually productive or effective. Ever heard the saying, ''many are going nowhere fast?'' So re-evaluate your goals and what is important.  A while ago, I was complaining of not having enough time. Then I realized how much time I spent on social media like Instagram and Facebook. Nowadays, when I log on, I think, could I spend this time staring at the fire instead? It would probably be a lot better for me to do the latter. 

                                                       Life happens in between meetings 

 Life happens in between meetings and commitments. Otherwise, it would be depressing don't you think? So make time for life.  And it starts with taking some time for yourself, away from your commitments, not for any purpose but for the enjoyment of the thing itself - every day, no matter how short that time is. It is called self-care.  


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