Self-care isn’t selfish – Advice for Women
As women, we invariably pop ourselves at the bottom of our priority list. Children, grandchildren, partners, parents, friends, work… then you, does that sound familiar?
When we think about self-care, we focus on self-indulgence and our thoughts go to spa treatments, dinners out, a trip to the hairdressers or shopping with friends. Perhaps you’re even thinking that self-care is only reserved for those with extra time and money. If that’s the case – it’s time to rethink what self-care really means.
The bottom line is that self-care is another way of saying “taking care of yourself”. This is vital for your health and wellbeing, not a phrase that focusses on pampering and spending money. It refers to identifying and meeting your needs, something a lot of women struggle with.
As born care-givers, women often feel a sense of obligation to always be looking after those around them, so it may be unusual for you to shift the balance from everyone-else-care to your own care. We must view self-care differently in order to start looking at the bigger picture. How can you care for everyone else, if you’re not caring for yourself?
The impact of chronic stress
Chronic stress can have a severe impact on your health.
Sometimes acknowledging that you’re not giving yourself enough self-care can have detrimental affects on your body, both physically and mentally. Chronic stress can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, weight gain, sleep issues, stomach problems, depressing, diabetes and heart disease. The psychological impacts that result from prolonged periods of stress are added to by the poor choices you make just to get by.
This means that, rather than turning to simple activities (like watching TV, binge eating and/or drinking), we should focus on healthier ways to combat chronic stress and looks after ourselves.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup”
Where to begin with self-care?
Throughout each day, you need to take some time for yourself and just pause. Take a moment to connect with yourself and focus on your internal needs. This will allow you to unwind from stress and focus on yourself. Practices of stress relief quiet the mind, balance hormones, lower blood pressure and improve brain health.
Some of my favourite tips for self-care are as follows:
- Spend time with nature – I call this ‘taking in the Good’ this includes gardening, walking in the woods or long grass, having a picnic by the river or walking the dogs at the seaside.. These help you to ground yourself – a practice that is hugely beneficial in self-care
- Go to bed early even if you are not tired.
- Spend 10 – 15 minutes each day on simple yoga poses or stretches
- Magnesium salts bath
- Guided meditation and mindfulness
- Read a book in your favourite place before going to bed
- Learn a new skill / craft
- Take a nap or an afternoon snooze
- Plan a little time off your phone or away from all technology
During the times in which you feel you don’t have time for self-care, are the times you need it most. Take some time for yourself and give yourself as much love as you give to others.