In the era of social media and hustle culture, the term “self-care” has become quite confusing.
We live in a culture that praises people walking around exhausted and burnt out. A culture where running on 5 hours of sleep is seen as a badge of honour. Self-care is perceived as something that should be “earnt” rather than being a regular, sustained practice for optimal health and wellbeing. Only when we are at burnout and at breaking point do we need or deserve self-care.
Self-care should be practiced on an ongoing basis despite what may be going on in day-to-day life. The frequency, length of time and practices themselves may certainly change, however intention and consistency is key to being a healthy, thriving human being.
My vision is to un-complicate and strip back this current perception of self-care by providing 5 useful and practical tips to help bring self-care into your life as a routine practice… to incorporate practices or rituals that help you maintain a full cup and sustain a resilient nervous system that is able to meet the demands of day-to-day life.
1. Schedule it!
Many facets of our lives are scheduled and time-bound. Whether that be work, school, extra-curriculars, appointments… self-care is much easier to bring into our daily lives if we have set-aside time for these activities which fill our cup and light us up. Whether it be 5 minutes or an hour each day, see what is achievable and needed for you as an individual being.
And remember that like any schedule, life happens. Stuff may come up which completely shifts the plans. Embrace it, be compassionate with yourself and don’t let it become an overwhelming burden that is “something else on the to-do list”.
2. Self-care doesn’t need to be expensive… or glamourous
I love a 90 minute massage as much as the next person, but this is certainly not always feasible. This mindset also leads us to thinking that the definition of self-care is something we must spend excessive money on. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly can be sometimes, but remember we want self-care to be accessible and become second nature.
And please release the idea that self-care has to look Instagram-worthy… like if you’re not doing a face mask or getting a manicure, you’re doing it wrong. Self-care is sometimes saying ‘no’ to a night out and going to bed at 8:30 on a Friday night. Self-care may be muting all social media apps for one day a week. Self-care may be tidying and organising your study, because nothing brings you greater joy than a clear and clutter-free space.
Release the idea of what self-care “should” look like.
3. Choose self-care practices that bring nourishment to all facets of health
You may need to incorporate a few different self-care practices to nourish each facet of health. Physical self-care may be a form of movement that brings you joy. Mental self-care may be meditating for 10 minutes before bed. Emotional self-care may be journaling once a week to reflect on thoughts and feelings from the week that’s been. An activity like yoga may be effective in nourishing all 3!
4. Find an accountability buddy
Do you know someone else who struggles to prioritise self-care? Set a goal to incorporate regular self-care into your life, share it with a buddy and keep each other accountable and updated. Research shows that when setting goals, an accountability partner increases your chances of achieving the goal from 60% to 95%!
5. Make it easy
I will once again emphasise that self-care does not have to be expensive or Instagram-worthy! Find what works for YOU as a person, taking into consideration your lifestyle, schedule, health status and interests. With many of us being time-poor, some quick and accessible ideas include:
· Writing an affirmation and sticking it on your bathroom mirror to read every morning
· Create and find joy in the mundane tasks of life. Playing your favourite music or podcast whilst you wash the dishes or fold the laundry.
· Go for a 10 minute walk on your lunch break. Even if you can’t get outside, just taking a stroll around the office building gets the body moving.
In our modern tech-age, there is also an abundance of resources available which make self-care very affordable and accessible. There are apps for guided meditations, workout regimes, podcasts and music. There are books on anything and everything if you are wanting to learn more about health, wellness, a particular hobby or up-skill… just the act of reading itself, for many, is a wonderful form of self-care. We can use our phones and devices to help schedule our self-care and provide reminders.
The possibilities are truly endless.
Keep it simple. Prioritise it. Make it work for YOU.
Need a bit of help getting the self care in? Book in with one of our amazing massage therapists for a bit of TLC.