Oh, and send the rent to your landlord, and make sure you drop them an email about that leaky faucet while you're at it.
Make sure you have your to-do list!
There are a thousand and one things you have to deal with every day. Most people work either full or part-time. You take courses at school. You have a family. You have friendships, volunteer work, church duties, and the general business of adulting.
Manage your stress and save your life
This works fine for a while, but it isn’t sustainable in the long run. I know how hard it can be to keep up at work when you have arthritis, for example. My joints say ‘hell no’ to hard floors and standing all day!
And what about your mental health? You may not realize it, but mental and physical health often go hand in hand. If one suffers, so does the other. When you focus on taking care of others and don’t take time to decompress, you risk causing yourself genuine harm.
You may risk experiencing burnout and prolonged stress. This can cause an acute bout of anxiety, depression and even a complete breakdown. You may suffer from physical symptoms such as nausea, ulcers, headaches and insomnia.
Chronic stress can even damage your heart over time.
Self-care is easier than you think
Self-care isn’t about bubble baths and pedicures, although that can be part of it. It's about slowing down and taking time for yourself.
If you’re anything like me, I’ll bet you often struggle to find a balance between the things you have to do and the things you want to do. Self-care also involves being aware of your own needs, feelings and emotions.
Eating a balanced diet
Drinking enough water
Getting plenty of sleep
Taking time for yourself to relax and unwind
Engaging in activities that bring you joy
Recognizing and acknowledging when you’re feeling overwhelmed
The key is to ensure that it becomes part of your daily routine. Taking time for yourself is not a one-time thing but an ongoing process that you have to keep up. And that likely sounds stressful in and of itself- another thing you have to add to the list of daily tasks, right? But it doesn’t need to be that way. It's best to start small.
You don’t have to do it all at once. Try adding a few simple activities into your day, such as going for a walk or taking a five-minute break. Try to include little things, like bringing a water bottle with you to work and drinking less coffee. You can try choosing healthier snacks like fruit or yogurt instead of chips.
Self-care isn’t about perfection but about taking charge of your health. It’s about recognizing that, as a person, you are important.
Your health matters. Sacrificing your own mind and body is not a mark of pride, it’s a serious mistake that can hurt you in the long run. The whole point of going to work every day and doing all the running around that you do is to improve your life. But what good is that if, at the end of the day, you don’t get to enjoy it?
One way to be aware of your needs is to practice something called mindfulness.
Incorporate mindfulness into your daily life
Mindfulness also helps you stay focused on what you can control instead of getting overwhelmed by the things that are out of your hands. Instead of rushing through your days, mindfulness encourages you to slow down and savor each moment. And it helps you become aware of self-sabotaging behavior like binging unhealthy food or indulging in self-criticism.
Mindfulness can also help with self-compassion. It’s so easy to be hard on yourself, especially in the modern hustle culture. I know, you’re supposed to be on the go and constantly on the lookout for our next opportunity, but at what point do you come to realize you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?
Self-compassion teaches that the word ‘no’ is a complete sentence.
It’s okay to make decisions based around your own care, and to stop constantly sacrificing your happiness for others. You don’t need to cut your loved ones off, but you can decide that alone time to recharge is going to be a part of your routine.
In short, self-care practices like mindfulness can make a huge difference in your quality of life. By slowing down and taking the time to be self-aware, to have compassion for yourself, you can start making better decisions for your health and wellbeing.