Have you noticed that the term “self-care” is everywhere these days? We hear about it through all sorts of media, such as TV and radio, or read about it in magazines and newspapers. It's something our health-care providers, ministers and friends like to talk about, too. In fact, even Google loves to talk about self-care and provides 175,000,000 links for self-care!
In spite of all the buzz, hype, and links, what really is self-care and is it something we should consider doing for ourselves?
The Idea of Self-Care
The idea of you taking care of you – it is important. Why? Because as human beings, we all need to do certain things to maintain or return to optimum levels of health and well-being. But when I’ve mentioned self-care to my patients, I often get a very nice nod of agreement with a bit of a smile, mixed with a look of panic or fear in their eyes.
What my patients have taught me is that while the idea of self-care sounds great on paper, most indicate they either can’t or won’t do it. Why? Because it feels too time consuming, too costly, and too selfish or self-indulgent. The really great thing about self-care is that it does not need to be time consuming, costly, or negatively self-serving. All it really does need to be is meaningful.
What is Meaningful Self-Care?
Meaningful self-care could be defined as taking care of yourself on a daily, consistent basis. It reminds you that, while others matter, so do you. Meaningful self-care is the gentle, compassionate and a loving reminder that your own health and well-being do matter.
Managing your own health and well-being is not self-indulgent; it’s actually a necessary part of modern life.
Why Does Self-Care it Matter?
When we take care of our own health and well-being with self-care that is meaningful and significant to us, we feel better. When we feel better, we usually do better, not only for ourselves, but for those that we love.
There are ways to build a practice of meaningful self-care into your busy daily life. What if you took a new approach to some of the day-to-day duties and routines that you already do and decided to shift your perspective just a little bit?
What if …
- You sang to your favorite songs while setting the dinner table?
- When your kids got home from school, you let that precious hug linger just a bit longer?
- You closed your eyes while you got your manicure or pedicure and enjoy the moment?
- You and your spouse held hands while walking into the grocery store together?
- You tried to pray or meditate for just 5-10 minutes a day?
- You practiced new ways of getting those 10,000 steps in each day?
- You downloaded an audio book and listened to it on the way to work in your car?
- You took the time before bed to congratulate yourself on accomplishing all you did that day?
There are lots of ways to incorporate meaningful self-care into our daily lives that don’t add more to your already full to-do list. Meaningful self-care is perhaps not meant for every day activities, but there should definitely be a place for it each week.
At the end of the day, there are lots of options all around us, but it is up to the individual, to determine what is meaningful and what they will practice on a regular basis. As you consider your own ideas for meaningful self-care, please be aware that this is a win-win for everyone.
Benefits to Self-Care
- improved mood
- increased energy
- more resilience to manage life’s daily stressors
These benefits for you also have an amazing trickle-down benefit to those at home and work. You’ll now be offering the absolute best version of yourself to family, friends, coworkers, and more.