Self-care is a hot topic. Often shunned as selfish and shallow, it’s now hit the mainstream, with brands and personal coaches pushing it’s true benefits to the masses. But what is it, and why should we embrace it?
Think about a time when you were stressed to the limit. Or a time when you were bed-ridden with illness. In those moments, were you in a position to make the smartest business decisions? My guess is no – we cannot make smart decisions about anything, let alone business or career, in a place of turmoil. And research confirms it. Effective self-care will pull you out of the darkness. It also improves your resilience to stress and negativity.
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Misunderstood for decades, self-care is re-emerging as a non-negotiable.
Anything that makes you feel good; walks in nature, creative expression, meditation, reading a book, having a bath or drinking a cup of tea, is self-care. It’s beauty lies in its simplicity and, it is completely personal.
Taking care of yourself is one of the few things you are in control of. No-one else is going to do it for you. When life goes wrong, you need to know how to set things right. If the idea still feels selfish, think of the benefits for everyone around you. After all, you cannot pour from any empty cup. If you're taken care of, you can take better care of the people around you.
What’s more, learning what fills you up, where your thresholds are and taking time to be present leads to improved self-awareness. As businessman and internet sensation Gary Vaynerchuck constantly highlights, self-awareness is key to getting ahead, saying, “I want people to learn to be at peace with themselves… Self-awareness is being able to accept your weaknesses while focusing all of your attention on your strengths.”
Once you find your self-care practices and get into a habit of nurturing yourself, you will see a vast improvement in your health, relationships and the magic word for all #bossbabes, productivity.
So, how can you start saying hell yeah to self-care?
Find three self-care practices you love: one daily, one weekly and one monthly
Focus on things you love or have wanted to try, rather than activities that are being touted as the best or popular with others. Make a list and choose three to start with;
- one that you can do daily – to feel a sense of achievement every day
- one weekly
- one monthly
(mine are: 1x 10-minute morning meditation, 1x weekly at home facial and a monthly personal coaching session)
Schedule these practices in
Now that you have identified three things to reinvigorate your mind, body and spirit with, it’s time to schedule them. As the great Tony Robbins says, “If you talk about it, it's a dream, if you envision it, it's possible, but if you schedule it, it's real.” Take advantage of times you know you’re not as productive in other areas of your life to fit your new practices in. For me, I like to do my weekly facial on a Sunday evening because that is a no-go time for work and a time I don’t usually make plans with friends. Write it in your schedule and stick to it.
Find a self-care partner to hold each other accountable
A self-care partner will help you remember why you started these practices in the first place. Think of them a gym buddy for your wellbeing. It might be your best friend, your business partner, your romantic partner or your mum, but choose someone who you trust. It might be fun to practice some of your self-care together too (did someone say group meditation followed by facials?!).
Whether you’re a seasoned self-care pro or a novice nurturer, remember that taking care of yourself is a life-long journey that will ebb and flow as you do. What you love today, you might outgrow in a year. And that’s ok. What’s important is that you are valuing yourself and holding space for others around you to do the same.
We’d love to know, what are your favourite self-care routines? What improvements have you seen in your life from practising them? Let us know in the comments below.