When was the last time you took care of yourself?
No, I don’t mean just taking a bath, putting on good-fitting clothes, brushing your hair, brushing your teeth. I mean really taking care of yourself — your inner self.
If your answer is a “A long time ago”, you’re not alone. Many people nowadays can get are too busy with jobs and family obligations that they don’t have time to care for themselves. They don’t focus on their passions and enjoy the activities that make them happy. They don’t take the time to rest and give their weary hearts, minds, and souls a break.
If you’re one of these folks, you have to realize that it’s time to stop this pattern. You don’t necessarily have to quit your job or drop all your responsibilities, but you do need to take care of yourself — inside and out.
Reasons to Practice Self-Care
Why is self-care so important? It doesn’t come naturally to most people, but it’s something that everyone should master because:
- No one else can take care of you
No one — not even your closest friends or family members — know exactly what you need to be happy. And, even if they do, it wouldn’t feel so rewarding, so fulfilling, if your happiness was handed to you on a silver platter.
Happiness is an individual responsibility. You shouldn’t rely too much on other people to make you happy; rather, you need to actively pursue it each and every day. One of the best ways to achieve happiness is to ensure your physical, mental, and emotional needs are being taken care of.
- Your needs must be met before you can fulfill others’ needs
Educator and self-care expert Eleanor Brown once said: “You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” If your own needs are not being met, if you yourself are not happy and satisfied with your life, you’ll definitely find it hard to spread good cheer and make a positive impact on other people’s lives. It’s like having the flu: if you’re dealing with a stuffed or runny nose and feeling feverish and weak, you’re likely not in a good shape to take care of another person.
Simple Steps to Self-Care
If self-care is not a part of your routine, it’s hard to know where to begin. You can get started , though, by taking these steps:
- Choose good food — One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs. Reduce your junkfood consumption and eat more fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome foods.
- Get some exercise — You probably already know that working out helps you maintain the ideal weight, develop muscle mass, and stay healthy. But it’s not just about physical health: exercising also boosts your self-confidence and makes you feel great inside and out.
- Treat yourself — What’s that one thing that you’ve always wanted to do for yourself but have not done so? Perhaps you love getting a massage but have been putting it off for months. Or maybe you’ve been planning to spend a day by the beach but your friends aren’t free to go with you. Whatever it is, it’s time to treat yourself and enjoy the activity you love.
- Contribute — Donating your time and energy to other people is a great way to give back to the community and to yourself. By contributing to others, you’re not only making a difference in their lives but you’ll also gain a sense of purpose and satisfaction and improve your self-esteem.
- Learn to say “No” — It’s easy to say “Yes” to social commitments and additional work responsibilities to avoid letting other people down. What you usually don’t realize, though, is that you might be letting yourself down. Say “No” to the things that don’t align with your values, beliefs, and plans so you’ll have more time for the things that matter to you.
These are just some of the ways to take care of yourself. Give them a try and see how much better life gets.