Living on caffeine, little sleep, and chocolate has been in vogue in the United States. Work, work work, and no play. In fact, researchers have found that people work more and relax less in the United States, and take less time off. All this work and little time off for personal time have resulted in more stress, higher rates of burnout, and increased anxiety and depression. As a result, self-care is becoming increasingly important in our society. We like to think that it’s the new trendy thing to do. You know, it’s the new black.
Do you find that you are tired at the end and the beginning of each day? Are you easily distracted and find it difficult to get much accomplished? Are you consistently putting the needs of those around you before your own? Sounds like you require some simple ways to care for yourself!
There are several benefits of self-care. Just to name a few: it helps you avoid burnout, reduces the negative impacts of stress, and helps you refocus. Have you ever listened intently to the flight attendant give the safety instructions? You should indeed put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you help those around you. If you do not give yourself care, you will not be able to manage all of your responsibilities effectively.
Here are the top five takeaways about self-care:
Self-care is not a reward…it is part of the process
It is important to take care of yourself on an ongoing basis. As odd as it sounds, you will feel better and have more energy to do what is most important to you. More often than not, we will dismiss or delay self-care activities and save them as a reward. However, this mentality forces you to work, care, and love on empty. Taking care of yourself needs to be a part of the process rather than a reward for getting through the task in front of you.
Make the time to exercise and eat well
The easiest thing to do when you are stressed or overwhelmed with life is to hit the take-out window or have a pizza delivered! This is easy, right?! However, when we fuel our bodies with nutritious food, we feel better and perform better on the whole. Also, exercise is a time commitment and it can be difficult to fit it into an already busy schedule. However, this is a great way to manage stress, clear your mind, and have renewed energy. Make it as easy as possible to make it happen; enlist a buddy, find a gym on the way home or close to work, and pack a gym bag.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings
This may sound pretty self-explanatory but stop and think about it. Often when we get overwhelmed, frustrated, or angry, we push our feelings aside and just work through it. However, it is important to stop, identify the feeling (try using a feelings wheel to help be more precise), and then take a break to experience your emotion fully. This helps to keep your emotions from completely taking over or getting out of control and presenting in an unintended way.
Learn some scheduling and time management skills
Protect your time at all costs. If you are working 50, 60, or 80 hours a week, research has shown that you begin to be ineffective. Schedule your responsibilities, then schedule empty time in case something takes longer than intended…and learn to say no. Be sure to add time on your calendar for family, friends, and most importantly YOU. Then protect that time just as much as you would an important meeting! You are important enough to spend time on and you will find that you are more able to do the things you need and want to accomplish!
Ask yourself, does this matter?
There are times that it feels good to be busy, but at other times, being productive means clearing your schedule. To achieve your goals, look at what is one thing that you want to get accomplished each day. This way, it is easier to stay on task and keep what is important in focus. Your money is also like your time. You can spend time aimlessly which can lead to added stress. So, it is important to have a time budget with a purpose. Set a goal and make a budget to help you accomplish this goal. This will help you feel like you are more in control of your present situation.
One valuable way to help yourself is to seek counseling so, give us a call and we will work to get you in a better spot. You can’t pour from an empty cup! Our therapists specialize in creating boundaries with your time, creating work/life balance, and managing anxiety or depression.
You might also enjoy reading our blog, Boost Your Self-Esteem with These 4 Easy Tips.