If you think back in time, about a decade or two ago, we didn’t hear much about a term we now use quite often—something many women now depend on to feel good and to be able to face the pressures of daily life—and that is: Self-care.
This concept came about more recently, but it’s really no surprise that more and more women are realizing the many values of self-care in their lives. We could probably credit the increased popularity of tending to our physical and emotional needs and overall, trying to take better care of ourselves, to our increasingly fast-paced society. Advances in technology, including the many ways the Internet and smartphones have changed our lives, has introduced different types of stress and, in many cases, greater stress into our lives. As women, we often go through the day without really disconnecting…ever. Our smartphone often goes from being in your hand all day to ending up on our nightstand, right next to us, at night. Although there are many conveniences that we enjoy that our mothers and grandmothers didn’t, there are also numerous other reasons why we need self-care now more than ever.
The self-esteem needs of women have also changed and evolved with time, making self-care something that must be at the forefront of our daily priorities. Social media has changed not only standards of beauty, but also the way that many women see themselves. We have always had to face various pressures associated with weight, appearance, and aging, but in the current times of photos and videos at the palm of our hands at all times, these pressures are now more vivid than ever. The remedy for issues with stress, self-esteem, and finding meaning in our life lies in self-care. It is through self-care that we learn self-love, which is the foundation of true happiness and satisfaction.
There are many effective and realistic ways to implement self-care in our everyday life—and yes, it must be an everyday habit. Self-care is up there in the needs hierarchy with eating and sleeping. Putting it in the back burner can mean burnout, emotional stress, and even physical or health problems. As a woman, we lead a fast-paced life, full of responsibilities, but the self-care strategies we will discuss will involve activities and behaviors that we can fit in your daily life without guilt, as we learn to enjoy and appreciate this well-deserved time to reflect, de-stress, and rejuvenate our mind and body.
Fit self-care time throughout your day.
This is a critical self-care strategy because oftentimes, many women wait (and look forward to) some self-care time at the end of a workday only to find that by the time they get home and tend to other responsibilities, it’s either too late, or they are too tired for any type of self-care. I know, I've been there on multiple occasions myself, especially being a mom to a three-year-old.
However, the solution I found helpful is to fit this time in during the day. It will take some dedication and discipline, but oh so worth it. Many find it helpful to set a timer as they are working. For example, you can set a 45-minute timer to get work done during that period but then allow a 10-minute break. This can be done two to three times daily and use short breaks to do something enjoyable. One of my favorites is to write in a journal, listen to an audiobook, meditate, exercise—there are numerous options and possibilities. The point of this strategy, however, is that we are interrupting the non-stop movement of our day in order to give ourselves some time to slow down.
Deep Breathing & Meditation
In practicing self-care, it is critical to incorporate deep breathing exercises and/or meditation. There are many options to try aside from traditional, seated meditation (which is an excellent choice if you prefer this type). There is also walking meditation and mindfulness meditation that can help put a stop to completing the numerous tasks on our to-do list and allow ourselves to focus on slowing down our mental pace. Aim for doing deep breathing or meditation for 10 minutes in the morning, at mid-day, and then at night. Think of it as breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your emotional, spiritual, and physical health. :)
Spending Time Alone
This is a concept that many people may not be aware of but is such a central part of self-care. There are many benefits to spending time alone and learning to enjoy this time. We are often surrounded by people, communicating with others via text or e-mail, and spend the day in and out of Zoom meetings, so having some alone time provides a sort of reset period where we can reflect and refocus. Many people associate being alone with a negative or undesired state—or even with loneliness, but the reality is that when we can learn to enjoy our being with our thoughts, we'll make great strides towards self-care and self-love. It takes a little time and practice, but try to implement activities that are enjoyable and can be done alone. Alternatively, we can set aside time to share with others, too, and find that we're able to give our best selves in relationships when we are also able to cultivate a positive relationship with ourselves.
Let's get started today. I'd like to share a FREE guided meditation that can help you gain some clarity. It is one of our members' only podcast episodes but I'd like for you to have some self-care today, so be sure to download your copy. You deserve it!
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