Whether you are single or married, a career women or at home, I can guarantee with a fair amount of certainty, that you spend more time taking care of others than you do taking care of your self. As women, we are great at putting everyone else first, sometimes even becoming resentful that our own needs have become last. For most of us however, if we do not take care of ourselves, no one else will.
That being said, the idea of self-care is foreign to most women, and frequently misunderstood or misinterpreted. So, what is self care?
Self Care IS:
- Eating right, getting proper nutrition, and drinking enough water. Just a 2% dip in body hydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and depression, as well as a 20% loss in energy!
- Enjoying some form of physical activity every day. A morning (or evening) walk is all it takes.
- Monitoring one’s emotional bank account, ensuring that one is making ample emotional deposits to cover the daily withdrawals of life, so that one does not become emotionally “overdrawn.”
- Knowing one’s limits; it is important to know how much one is able to effectively do in a day or a week without becoming over exhausted, over emotional, or overwhelmed.
- Being self aware of internal pain and using it as an impetus for growth. Rather than attempting to ignore it or anesthetizing it with food, TV, more work etc., addressing the pain is very self-nurturing. Relevant self-help books, support groups, and therapy are all excellent ways to accomplish this.
- Not allowing oneself to become cut off from others, but being in consistent healthy relationships with like-minded women (extroverts need more of this than introverts do).
- Spending enough alone time to recuperate and recollect one’s thoughts (introverts need more of this than extroverts do).
Self Care is NOT:
- The same as comfort, which may include comfort foods, TV, pedicures, or shopping sprees. Although these are all great, an excess of these can actually elevate one’s stress level.
Some final thoughts of Self Care:
- While the comforts mentioned above are good in moderation, remember not to substitute comfort for self care; doing so will damage us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Use moderation with comforts, including TV (your brain is less active when you are watching TV than when you are asleep—mental activity actually helps us reprocess stress, thus helping us recuperate).
- Do something creative everyday (even if for only 20 minutes). You will be surprised how much this one thing will refresh you.
Women’s Health @ Suite 101: http://suite101.com/article/self-care-for-women-a51206
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