Whilst I was on holidays a few weeks ago I decided (after much umming and ahing) to head down to the local beach while my partner Mike was at work, just to check it out and go for a walk (This is something I used to do multiple times per week). I ended up spending 45 minutes there, checking out the cool rocks and exploring. I had seriously forgotten how much I loved heading down to the beach, putting a good playlist on and just zoning out. It felt so good to spend that time doing something I really enjoyed, I have come to the realisation that I want to experience this feeling more often, daily in fact (who wouldn’t want to feel this good).
We get so busy with our daily lives and work that we forget to spend time doing things that really make us feel good inside (I am guilty!). This might not be going to the beach for you, but I am sure there is something that just makes you feel really good. It could be that hot cup of tea in the morning sunshine, curling up and reading a good book or sitting in front of a warm fire enjoying the light crackling noise that it makes. Whatever it is, I know you have something that just checks your boxes and makes you feel warm inside.
The practice of doing things you love actually fits into the category of self-care.
So, what is self-care?
The definition of self-care is: the practice of taking actions to aid in preserving or improving ones’ health. This can include emotional, physical and mental health. The sub-category of self-care that I am talking about includes soothing your mind, releasing endorphins and improving your mood.
Personal wellbeing is important but we often get so caught up in pleasing everyone else that we forget to take a step back and restore our own happiness (certain personality types are worse for doing this).
Benefits of self-care
Improvement in productivity
• You make more time for the things that matter and prioritise the things that are not as important further down on your list.
• Personal goals will be clearer and you will find that your focus is clearer on them.
• A greater capacity to manage stress due to a clearer and more positive mind.
Improved physical health
• You will have the motivation to keep yourself accountable in all aspects of your personal health.
• Less stress and an improved immune system will leave you feeling more physically and mentally able to fight off sickness.
• Increased energy levels.
• Reduced risk of certain disease (including ones caused from being overweight) from keeping in shape.
• Better sleep (we all need more of this).
• You will feel good about yourself because you are kicking goals.
• By taking time for yourself you are increasing your own personal value or self-worth and improving your self-esteem.
Improved mental and emotional health
• Finding value in yourself and your life can dramatically improve negative self-thoughts.
• Some people see a reduction in symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
How to practice self-care
• Be active, find an activity you love doing! Go for a walk, dance, run, lift!
• Eat meals that are balance and full of good nutrition (in moderation).
• Get enough sleep – set a bed time and try to stick to it.
• Connect with like-minded people
• Forge relationships with people that keep you motivated and make you a better person
• Cut the relationships that are hard work and don’t add value to your life
Ask for help
• If you are struggling – ask for help!! People are not mind readers and you will find that if you ask, your friends, family or health care professional will be more than happy to support you.
Time for you – #5minutesforme
• Find time to do the things that you love! Go to the beach, learn something new, join groups with common interests – THIS IS YOUR TIME to just be you and feel good about it.
Determining what you need and what makes you happy
Self-care looks different to everybody. What you need may not be in line with what someone else needs. Self-care is personal and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else. Everyone’s journey is different.
Ask yourself what YOU need…..
• What do I enjoy doing with my spare time?
• What makes me feel most fulfilled and happy?
• What makes me feel as though my life is meaningful and full of purpose?
DO THESE THINGS!
• Who makes me feel motivated?
• Who makes me so happy that I just feel at home when I spend time with them?
• Who makes me act like a better person?
• Who is always supportive of me?
SPEND TIME WITH THESE PEOPLE!
• What makes me feel anxious and worried?
• What makes me feel stressed?
• What makes me feel tense?
DO THESE THINGS LESS! (sometimes they are unavoidable, but will be more tolerable for us, you know… because we do self-care).
• Who always makes negative comments about my choices?
• Who always makes a joke of me and puts me down?
• Who makes me feel like I’m worthless or of a decreased value to what they are?
GET RID OF THESE PEOPLE FROM YOUR LIFE! You don’t need them, trust me.
It’s weird that one small meaningful activity could potentially cause so much positive change in our lives. So, with this new-found knowledge of self-care… I bet you are feeling a little overwhelmed and not really sure where to start! So… let’s start small. To get ourselves started on a little bit of self-care, what I propose we do is to try to make an effort on a daily basis to do something that we love.
So, what it is, is a daily challenge: for a minimum of 5 minutes per day for the next 7 days we are going to do something we love (I feel like anyone has time to fit this in, not matter how busy you are). To keep myself accountable I will post on my story daily and hashtag #5minutesforme. I seriously can’t wait to see my FRIENDS doing a little bit of self-care (and feeling awesome for it).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rhianne Heath is a Registered Nurse and the creator of Rhianneeliz, a health and wellness blog about navigating life as a health-care professional as well as managing personal health and fitness. She is an advocate for physical and mental health as well as fitness for the general population and health care workers. Rhianneeliz was created in September 2019 when Rhianne realised her passion for promoting health and wellbeing, hoping to create positive lifestyle changes for nurses and other professionals.