4 Things I Wish I Knew About Self-Care Years Ago

Posted on: July 22, 2019, by :


Like many busy professionals, I spent the last 30 years primarily focused on full-time work and other obligations while only occasionally dedicating time to my physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health simultaneously.

My attention and efforts would go in bursts and were often related to what was going on in my life or what I was learning—never did I put forth deliberate effort to focus my time and energy on all four aspects of self-care simultaneously.

We first make our habits, then our habits make us. John Dryden


For me, I always put the needs of my family and my responsibilities over my self-care. Yes, I have always taken care of myself to varying degrees but I failed to take proactive responsibility for my comprehensive preventative care even though not caring for myself in this way was a complete contradiction to what I believed about caring for my family.

According to dictionary.com, self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.

Self-care involves taking action to take care of your physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs. 4 things I wish I knew about self-care thirty years ago:

Self-care isn’t selfish.

Self-care is smart. Think of the safety procedures you’re reminded of prior to take off in an airplane—put your oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others. You cannot help others to the very best of your abilities if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Self-care contributes to your overall well-being.

The smallest amount of exercise provides health benefits. Most of us can make small changes to our routines to contribute to improvements in our health and well-being.

Parking farther away from the entrance to your office building or meditating for five minutes in your vehicle before you drive home can help you realize positive benefits.

Self-care doesn’t have to take a long time.

I decided I wanted to increase my focus on self-care and wrote out the types of activities I wanted to start practicing regularly.

My current preferred activities include Pilates, riding my stationary bike and lifting weights. I also want to devote time to meditation, reading and writing daily.

When I reviewed my list, I was overwhelmed and thought that I would never be able to make time for all of the activities even though I’d decided they were important to me.

That’s when I decided to try to group them into two one-hour segments. My one-hour morning segment would involve 20 minutes of Pilates, biking and weights and my evening one-hour segment would involve 20 minutes of meditation, reading and writing.

You may only have an hour. Decide what you can start doing to take better care of yourself. Adjust your routine until you find what works best for you.

Self-care doesn’t have to cost anything.

Walking, meditating, reading, eating more vegetables, writing in your journal, practicing yoga or simply setting boundaries for your time, are all no cost ways to practice self-care.

Figure out what can work for your schedule. Start small if you prefer, just start making more time to take care of yourself regularly.


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