“You cannot pour from an empty glass”
“Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others”
The quotes above relate to Self-care.
We all talk about Self-care, but in my experience, we advise other people to take care of themselves but do not follow our own advice.
Why Self-care is important, you may ask?! Self-care is important for our physical and mental well-being. We need to maintain our physical and mental well-being for us to continue doing what we need to and want to do, for a long period of time without feeling exhausted, stressed or run-down.
In our day to day life, we have so many responsibilities, we take on too much, willingly or unwillingly, we want to do everything, but we have to really understand how much we can manage, where our energy levels are at! When is enough, enough?
Also, ask yourself why you want to just give and not reciprocated. How long can you go on like that and what price are you willing to pay for not taking care of yourself! And I bet, you are one of those people who loves to give but does not like to ask for help. Think what will happen if you fall unwell, what will happen to you?
Some people think looking after oneself is selfish. If you say no or say you can’t as you are tired or busy, you feel that the other person will feel rejected, and when you need their help, they will say no. Or perhaps you may feel if you say no, they will be upset with you and won’t talk to you, or even that they will spread bad rumours about you.
You must know the implications of you overworking yourself in all aspects of your life, your inability to say no. You will feel exhausted and fall ill. This does not serve you and it will not serve your loved ones and the people you so desperately want to help.
Fun Fact about Self-care
You technically don't have to do anything, and it can still be an act of self-care. Self- care is about genuine fun and relaxation. Self-care can help you build self-esteem. Self-care does not mean you are choosing between yourself and others.
What is the difference between self-care and selfishness?
Put your both hands in front of you, hands touching each other. Now, when you do that, there is a slight gap, that is I call it a fine line between self-care and selfishness. Say your left hand is self-care and right hand is selfishness. Every time you are conflicted about doing a task and not sure which one it is, simply think about it and decide in which hand it belongs.
If you are doing too much you will notice physically that you will have less energy, you will feel lethargic, your productivity will decrease and you will end up doing a task taking longer time on tasks.
If you were not so tired and were better at managing your physical well-being, this would most likely not be the case. The same goes for metal well-being; if you are constantly helping others, running around, taking on people’s problems and that add to your own, emotionally you will start feeling drained and experience other emotions like, anger, frustration, impatience, aggression. This may then start seeping in, even though it can be avoided, because we have not balanced our physical and emotional well-being. It may then backfire which can lead to consequences to deal with and sometimes the damage is done beyond repair.
5 tips to Self-care
Reflect: Knowing when you are exhausted, tired, and burnt out will help you to re-evaluate, rearrange and prioritise. This will help you to balance how much you do. BALANCING is the key. Work out if there is an imbalance and think what can be done about it? What changes are you going to make?
Learn to say NO: It is okay to say NO, remember you won’t be able to please everyone all of the time. They will find someone else or this may encourage them to become independent and self-reliant. The world will not end for you or for them. It is important to be kind to yourself too.
Keep healthy – emotionally, physically and mentally: This is so important. Focus on healthy diet, exercise, taking regular breaks, meditation, mindfulness, looking at things from a positive perspective.
Small little steps like these taken regularly, prevents physical and mental health exhaustion in the long run. This will help you to know your limits of how much you can cope with.
Stay Vigilant: Monitor how much you are taking on and reduce the amount if it becomes too much. You can use your diary to slot things that you need to do on a daily basis, make sure you add ME time every day. E.g. if you are not resting enough and doing too much, then this will exhaust you and you will be less effective, inefficient and less focused.
Self-care Wheel: Do one thing per day just for you, something that makes you relax and happy even if it is 15-30 minutes. Peace of mind, calmness and relaxation is the biggest gift you can give to yourself. You can create a wheel for different areas of your life. Scale each area from 0 (being lowest) and 10 (being highest) and work out which area needs the most work and which area you do too much. Is there a balance? If not, think about what you can do to bring balance to your life.
If you feel you need assistance in exploring your feelings and thoughts, as well as working through the
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