For years, the soundtrack of my life went a little like this:
I was overwhelmed at work and at home. I had projects, tasks piled up, crushing me for all angles. And my to-do-list was a dumping ground, laughing at me. A constant reminder of what I hadn’t done.
To accommodate this elaborate juggling act I’d created for myself, I’d often skip lunch or have a rushed garage, tasteless sandwich and a bottle of coke at my desk. Exercise becomes another item on my amused, over-bulging to-do-list. Something I knew I should do but just never managed give it the importance it deserved.
And my family and friend got thrown the scraps of me…
Stress, Overwhelm And Loneliness
There was zero time to focus on my needs, wants or desires. I was as far down the pecking order as a person can go. Naturally, this led to feelings of resentment and internal loneliness that I felt I shouldn’t/couldn’t express.
When we’re stressed, overwhelmed or caught in the trap of loneliness, self-care is usually the first thing to get the chop.
I was brought up to the beat of the “hard work pays off” drum. And yes, to a certain extent it does. But there is a very fine line between hard work and overwork. And when we overwork ourselves, when we push through hunger, break times and often times pain – the outcome is not pleasant.
You become so focused on being busy you lose all focus. As a result, your performance isn’t sharp or on point. Stress, anxiety and frustration tend to take over.
And let’s face it – this is no way to live.
Indulgence and luxury will spring to mind when you think of self-care. I’m going to knock that one on the head immediately. Self-care should not be something we resort to when we have the time or we’re desperately trying to feel better. Self-care is an essential ingredient in a fulfilling life. And I’m going to tell you why self-care is so important.
Why Self-Care Is So Important
Self-care will help you excel in life :
- Firstly, it prevents over stimulation and burnout – which can affect your physical and mental well-being. We’ve all being there – pushing ourselves to the brink of exhaustion…and to what end. A little self-care can stop you from reaching breakdown mode.
- Secondly, self-care reduces unnecessary stress. Stress is a part of everyday life and a small amount of stress is useful. But excessive stress wears out you and breaks your soul, body and mind. Eliminating unnecessary stress allows you to function normally, happily and productively.
- Lastly, self-care brings clarity, focus and helps you realign your priorities. Have you ever been so focused on one little thing that you completely lose focus? Or been so bogged down in getting sh*t done that the big picture is not in the picture at all? Self-care allows you to refocus your efforts and attention to what truly matters and helps you reach your goals.
Now that we’re on the same page about why self-care is so important, let’s talk about how we go about achieving and making time for self-care?
Firstly, self-care comes in many shapes and forms.
The Basic Forms Of Self-Care
- Getting enough sleep – are you getting 8 hours sleep each night? Mothers of babies and young children…sorry in advance – I know you’re not getting 8 hours per night…but I promise it does get better. Everyone else, put the phones down, turn off the TVs and get yourself to bed a little earlier.
- Move your body – and make time for exercise. When you're over-extended, this can be daunting. Taking breaks and moving your body is imperative. Go walking on your lunch break, take the stairs, do a little dance, stretch or sign up for a class…you’ll be amazed at how great it will make your body and mind feel.
- Eat fresh, nutritious food – this and hydrating your body properly (aim for 2-3 litres per day) is the ultimate form of self-care. What you put into your body on a daily basis is fuel. Your nutrition will fuel your mind and your body. Put the right stuff in and you’ll have energy to burn. Don't expect your body to run smoothly, function properly and give your results time and time again if you do not replenish the fuel with good quality nutrition.
- Connections – this is an important one – we all have an innate desire to be understood and feel connected to those around us. Family and friendships are a necessary corner of self-care. So make time for the people who you love and fill you with joy. Equally, if you have relationships that drag you down into the negativity pit – gently extract yourself from these relationships. They are not your tribe nor your vibe.
Fluffy Robes And Slippers
Self-care is often depicted as fluffy robes, slippers and swanning around in the tranquillity of a spa. While this is a fabulous way to treat yourself, it doesn’t need to be as elaborate as this. Here are a few self-care ideas that you can do from the comfort of your own home:
- Jump in the tub – take a nice soak – I talking bubbles, essential oils, candles, soft music…tranquillity in your own home.
- Deep-condition your hair: While you’re in the bath, why not treat your hair to deep-conditioning treatment. Let it work its magic while you relax.
- Paint your nails: There is nothing as nice as looking down at freshly painted, colourful nails. Instant joy. So when you’re lounging around one night on the sofa, treat yourself to fabulous nails.
- Make time each week for one hobby you really enjoy. We schedule everything in our lives – doctors appointments, dentist, coffee with friends etc…why not schedule in time for your favourite hobby? Call it a date with yourself. For me…it has to be reading. I love the gentle escape, the knowledge, the emotion of books. I will always make time to read as it gives me such joy.
Don't Ignore Your Emotional Health
The last point I want to make on self-care is this – we routinely take care of our physical self – we brush our teeth because we know it’s good for our dental hygiene. What if you thought in the same terms about self-care? Take care of your emotional needs. Don’t ignore your emotional health – in time, it will be at the expense of your physical health.
Co-Founder Pepper Hustle
P.S. We’ve always got lots of self-care challenges going on over in the Pepper Hustlers group – join today and make your self-care a priority.