What is Self-Care?

So this month I am focusing on Self-Care, this is the second blog in the series! Welcome back and if you happened to miss my first post on the topic, you can find it here: Pushing the Limits of Self-Care.

 

So let’s get back to basics – what exactly is self-care?

 

Self-care is actively, and intentionally, engaging in activities that enhance the quality of your life. I once thought that self-care ‘lived’ in the space of mental health management, and indeed I was first introduced to the concept when I was struggling with anxiety and depression, as it was a useful tool to help lessen my symptoms. I have since learned that self-care is so much more than just tool that supports more resilient mental health; it is a necessity for holistic wellness.

 

Self-care crosses the boundaries of mind, body and spirit and is integral in all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional. It is not a once-a-month, or every-so-often, kind of thing – self-care is something that should be practiced daily – if not multiple times a day.

 

Self-care is not self-indulgent, weak or for those who want an excuse to ‘slack off’; to the contrary – it allows time to recharge the batteries, refocus our energy and tap into our motivation to achieve what we need most effectively in our day. Have you ever experienced the 3pm slump when it very tempting to grab a hit of chocolate and caffeine to get you through the rest of the day? What if that were to be substituted with a 5-minute walk in the fresh air to clear the head and refocus the mind? When it is framed like this, self-care is far from self-indulgent or weak and is a very powerful tool for a healthy mind, body and spirit.

 

Sounds good doesn’t it?! So where do I start?

 

It is important to find self-care activity that works for you. What do I mean by that? Well – it is not only important to find something that fits into your daily routine in terms of time or any additional resources or items that you need. It is also important to find an activity that enables you to feel the way you need to feel at that time of day – whether it is relaxed, recharged, energetic or centred.

 

So really I am asking you to start with the end in mind.  Start with how you want to feel, and then find something that will allow you to feel that once completed, in the time and resources you have available.

 

Not sure how you can make it work for you or fit it into your already busy days? The question at some point becomes, can you afford not to? Are you able to function without some form of self-care strategies or activities in place to recharge your batteries? To bring you back to calm in moments of extreme stress? To allow you to relax and unwind to have a good nights sleep?

 

When we are busy, self-care is often the first thing to exit our to-do list, when it should be firmly placed as a priority. There is often only so long we can push ourselves without getting tired, cranky, overwhelmed or more susceptible to illness. We are not machines, although it can be easy to forget when we are under pressure at work, we are running a household and the kids are demanding our attention – so the key is to make the time. When, where, how?

 

Five minutes.

 

Five minutes. Three times a day. Morning. Afternoon. Evening.

 

It doesn’t need to be a complicated, expensive or overly involved activity – unless that is what you want or need. It does need to give you what you need, and that could take a little time to find – be open to experiment – and find what works for you.

 

To make it a little easier I have created a mini-workbook that will be auto-magically emailed when you pop your details on this page:

Please email me my workbook!

 

Make a cuppa and take a little time to complete the mini-workbook – it is filled with suggestions of self-care activities that may help you to recharge, re-energise, relax and unwind or bring you back to centre. Then fill out the Self-Care Plan – it will help prompt you in your routine to what you would like to implement and when. Self-Care is a commitment to you, it will take time and a little energy to implement – but the benefits are priceless.

 

If you feel you need a little support to get you on your way, please don’t worry – you don’t have to go it alone! I will be starting a two-week Self-Care Challenge on the Monday 13th July 2015. As part of this challenge you will have access to a closed Facebook group where you can further the discussion about self-care, share your discoveries or gain inspiration and support from others.

 

So, until next week – take the time to work out what self-care is for you, how you want to feel at the end of your self-care activities and what you may like to do and when. Then jump back to Speed of Life Coaching next Monday, 13th July 2015, and join us on the Self-Care Challenge.

 

I look forward to seeing you then. x