The Importance of Self-Care

Article by Daniel Browne 03.08.15

In this modern world we are caught up in a juggling act of trying to balance work life with home life. This sometimes means that we end up neglecting our own needs. This can lead to tiredness, stress, exhaustion and even complete burnout.

I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past; working so hard that I have neglected my own needs and not taken the best care of myself. It’s not a mistake that I make any more and I now always find a bit of time for some self-care.

Self-care is essentially looking after yourself in a healthy way. Even a simple thing such as brushing your teeth is self-care, but of course there is more to the concept than just brushing your teeth twice a day.

Taking some time out to look after your physical and mental wellbeing is key for a healthy, balanced, happy life. It’s important to do the things that you want to do; not just the things that you need to do.

When thinking about this article, I considered the reasons why as a society we don’t indulge in self-care enough. I think one of the biggest obstacles is not knowing how to indulge in self-care, almost as if there is a ‘right’ way to do it. There is no right or wrong way, of course. It’s about simply taking action. The rest is down to personal preference.

For some people, sitting down and relaxing is self-care. For other it’s going to the gym or for a run. Even catching up with friends or family is a form of self-care as it’s conducive to your mental wellbeing. Self-care is essentially doing whatever you want to do (and not feeling guilty about it!). It shouldn’t be a forced part of one’s routine, but something that naturally occurs. Otherwise it wouldn’t be fun, would it?

Personally my forms of self-care are pounding the treadmill at the gym, walking the dogs, catching up with friends over lunch, and sitting down to watch a few episodes of the latest television show I’ve been recording. They are all things that I enjoy doing and I feel they are good for my physical and mental wellbeing.I also reward myself with positive experiences when I’ve completed something that I have to do. For example, if I have some paperwork to complete, I will tell myself that after completing it I’ll take the dogs for a walk or go and meet a friend for coffee. It not only serves as motivation to complete my task, but is also something to look forward to.

So how can you introduce a bit more self-care into your life?

• If you have a busy, full on lifestyle, just stop for a minute. Right now, stop what you are doing for sixty seconds. Close your eyes, breathe, and notice how good it feels to take some time out, however brief it may be. Do this several times a day, just so you can a bit of time out, and it will soon become a natural part of your day.
• Think about what you would like to do, and then do it. If you want to see a friend, pick up the phone and arrange something. If you fancy having a nice, hot bubble bath when you get home, allow yourself the time to do it.
• Eat healthily. This will improve your physical health, which in turn can positively affect your mental wellbeing.
• Get active. Even just ten minutes of walking each day can be beneficial.
• Promise yourself rewards for completing some of the things that you have to do. Those rewards must be things that you want to do.
• Brush your teeth twice a day (I joke…).

Your mind and body are temples and I believe they should be treated as such. Working hard, being able to pay the bills, focusing on your family, and all the other things that we have to do in life are of course essential, but don’t forget to add taking care of yourself to the equation.

Want to know more about self-care? I’m declaring this September ‘Self-Care September’. I’ll be posting lots of information and tips online, as well as running a number of workshops and taster sessions through the month. Follow me on Twitter @DBTherapy to find out more.