We have all had a friend or relative or sometimes a doctor say these words to us “you need to take better care of yourself”. Sometimes we are left with questions of what exactly they mean. You wonder I am eating healthy and ensuring I get the required sleep what more can I do?
In my view, self care begins with you recognizing that you matter and need to first of all take care of yourself before you can take care of others. You may recall what we always hear in an airplane as we watch or listen to the safety features before take off. We are told to “put on your oxygen mask first before you can help others”. Yes this even applies to your children. Like someone correctly observed, “you cannot pour from an empty cup”.
The key to proper self care, is finding the balance point between the activities that make up your day and the activities that bring you a sense of peace and well being. When you take time to care for yourself, you are communicating to everyone else that you are valuable and deserve to be treated as such.
As women, we tend to take care of everyone else but forget our selves in the process. We sometimes rationalize this by saying there is not enough money to go around. However, there are many things that we can do to take care of ourselves without spending money. Some of these activities we are already doing and only need to make a few tweaks or change our perspective to the activity and make it about us. Below I share 5 simple things that you can do this week to give yourself some self care.
1. Ensure you take time to Dress Up
Yes I mean makeup and stilettos plus everything that goes with these. Very often we under estimate the value we would bring to ourselves if we took time to prepare what we are going to wear the next day and actually get into those clothes the next morning.
It happens to mostly SAHM because your routine is often drop children to school, run a few errands, pick children from school, come back home. You tend to reason that it is not necessary to wear that nice dress that flatters you and often gets you comments like have you lost weight?.
Making time to pick out a nice outfit to wear not only makes you happy but also boosts your self-esteem. Everyone likes getting compliments once in a while. When your workmates or friends notice that you took time to get yourself ready for the day they will complement you and this will in turn make you feel happy about yourself. All over a sudden that project that you have been dreading appears to be doable and you can take it on. If you are a “mompreneur“, you begin to feel like you still got your groove and can take on anything the world throws at you.
2. Engage in an Exercise that you love
Experts tell us that engaging in even a simple exercise like walking 20 – 30 minutes everyday is not only good for your health but can also boost your mood and energy levels. The problem why some people do not view exercising as a means of self care is because they engage in exercise that they do not love. They are exercising because other people are doing so or said that is what has to be done. You need to remember that self care is not about something you force yourself to do. It is all about filling yourself up and not draining or usurping your energy.
Ditch going to the gym if it freaks you up. Instead opt for a walk or a run and listen to music you love or an inspirational message while you are at it. This will be a double win for you.
In my case, I used to go to the gym but I found that it was consuming so much of my time and frankly speaking I was not enjoying it. I have since resorted to walking 4 times a week. I aim for a 10 km walk and I am happy with the results. My highlight is the Saturday morning walk which is a little longer about 12 – 13 km and I join a group of ladies. I enjoy this walk because we share a lot of information about the journey of life. You can read more about that group HERE.
3. Read or listen to an audio book
It is not just physical exercise that can do you good. Exercising our minds is just as important as exercising our bodies. Most people often say they do not have time to read. I have found that when you take time to curve out 20 – 30 minutes a day to read a book you love, it does wonders for you. The key is to make this time sacred and enjoy it. Start by setting up a reading nook in your home where you can curdle up or put your feet up and just get lost in that book. Soon the 30 minutes will go into an hour because you are having so much fun you do not want to leave.
For people who prefer to listen to audio books this even gets better. We spend so much time on the road so instead of listening to people hooting their horns or getting upset with the traffic. Just roll up your windows and listen to an inspiration or motivation book. By the time you get to your destination, you will be pumped up to take on your tasks and this will make you happy at the end of the day.
4. Get in the kitchen and create something
Granted this may not apply to those who do not like cooking but if you love to cook, the kitchen can be a nice place to get some self care. Like I said above, this is one of the activities that you can make about you. As you cook, have some entertainment to enjoy.
I love to catch up with my YouTube favorites while I cook. During the day, when I get a notification that one of the channels I have subscribed to has a new video, it makes me happy because I know I will have company that evening as I cook. I also listen to inspirational and motivational talks as I cook and I find that this fills me up and enables me to “cook with love” as my friend Angel likes to say.
Some of my favorite YouTube channels are:
5. Sing and dance to your favorite music
We often under estimate the joy that comes with dancing to your favorite music. Can you imagine what would happen if you listened to some good music and danced along as you waited for a dish to cook. Or instead of running or walking for your daily exercise you opted to go for a dance class instead. I have a friend who goes for a dance class after which she sits in a steam bath and she swears this is what keeps her in shape and rejuvenated everyday. Although you will not catch me doing this in public, once in a while I like to turn the volume up and get lost in some good music.
Those my friends are five ways which you can practice this week and get some much needed self care. Dressing up, exercising, reading, cooking and singing and dancing.
I am curious to know what are some of the ways that you use to practice self care. Let us continue the discussion in the comments box below.