What Is Self-Care, And Is It Eluding You?
Why has self care become such a buzz word (two words really)? What is it anyway and why should YOU be doing it? Do you actively take time to take good care of yourself? Of course you do! Or at least you think you do…. Here’s what you may not realize, is that the level of care you give yourself is less than ideal, in many cases would even be considered as neglect. Yes, circumstances may force you to spend less time on yourself than you would like, and there are dozens of excuses for why you can’t (or won’t). But consider this, if you were taking care care of your children, pets or other family that way, they would rightfully feel neglected or unwanted.
It is extremely important to understand that before you can make a conscious effort to improve your level of self care, you need to get really honest about the areas you are “deficient”(not the I can’t do it, but the I don’t make time to do it) in. Here are some things to consider if you want to know if Self-care may be eluding you.
You Are Selfless
This is a biggie for a lot of people…. If you find yourself putting the needs of every single person ahead of your own, you are exhibiting a classic sign of self-neglect. By prioritizing the needs of everybody except your own, you get burnt out and/or resentful towards everyone and about all the things you are doing for them.
Though nobody likes a selfish hog, let’s be realistic- you have to put yourself first sometimes. You have to fill your cup until it runs over and the “run over” is what you use to help fill others cups with. This may seem selfish but if your cup is empty what do you have left to give?
How Your Appearance Reflects On You Level Of Self Care
If you feel guilty for “dolling yourself up” even if just on occasion, again, self-care may be eluding you. You have the right to spend time on yourself, it can be as simple as indulging in a bubble bath for an hour, or moisturizing and doing weekly manicures and or pedicures even if you do them yourself, it is a vital part of your overall self care. These are just ideas, and not the only ways to care of yourself, find one or two things that you do just for yourself and add them to your weekly rituals.
Another typical symptom of this is the chronic habit of dressing in “wash and wears,” or sweats and t shirts. Notice I put Chronic in bold print… Why? because it means this is your everyday -go -to outfit, just change the color. Take some time to pick out some special occasion outfits and wear them just because it is a day that ends in Y. This involves picking out accessories, shoes and ironing the clothes if needed. You are special- dress for the part.
Some might consider this vain, but why not look the best you can for yourself. When you dress up and look good you can’t help but feel good. Just remember you are dressing up for yourself and not because you want other people to pay attention.
You Don’t Have Or Are Avoiding Your Friends
Not having a small circle of close knit friends is another obvious symptom of poor self-care. Good friends are there not only through the good times, but also the bad and can be an invaluable part of your well-being. Whether this is your choice (or excuse) or something forced upon you by family, it is not healthy and ultimately affects your well-being.
You Feel Unfulfilled
You may be an adult, have a home and money in the bank, but still have the sinking feeling that you have not achieved what you set out to, or have not reached certain goals you had planned to achieve by this stage in your life. This could be the result of not feeling fulfilled in what you are doing, because perhaps you never got the chance to complete your college education, to pursue a passion, have a family or maybe your career is no longer rewarding.
Well guess what- there is no better time than now to get up and go after whatever it is that you think you should be doing and are not! No one else out there can achieve this for you, so go get it and don’t give up until you do!
Self Care & Exercise
This is one of the more serious symptoms of poor self-care, as it directly affects your health on an emotional and physical level. Lack of exercise as we all know significantly increases the likelihood of negative health effects, reduces the quality of life, and harms your appearance.
If you were to exercise just 3 times weekly, with simple things like a walk, swimming, yoga or any other form of exercise you find that is sustainable for you, the easier it is to maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise is one of the best things you can give yourself, because it not only keeps your body in shape, it helps release “feel good” hormones (endorphins) into your body and that is always a good thing!
You Feel Like Life Is A Chore
The final sign of a lack of self care, is your lack of joy with life in general. You are constantly grumpy, complaining and short tempered. Living brings you no real pleasure; you’re just going through the motions of life, without truly finding joy in the day-to-day moments.
You find it difficult to find pleasure in the views on your way to work, you don’t experience joy from little things your kids or grand kids may do, and only look forward to going to bed or being alone. Happy people make you sneer and you want to ask what the heck they are so happy about in this world we are living in. Feeling as if life has no real purpose for you can be not only sad, but kick starts a cycle of negativity and can spiral into depression.
Though self-care should be second nature, many of us have to re-learn these instinctual behaviors and replace the “politically correct” habits and robotic pursuit of daily living with some spontaneous joyful moments that make us smile long after the moment has passed.
All these options can be done whether you are male or female, there is no reason to feel like pampering yourself with a soak in the tub is exclusively for the ladies, heck even the Mani-Pedi can be for the guys too! A simple soak of the feet in Epsom salts can be considered a pampering… Get your hands soaked and massaged, and your nails professionally clipped, you deserve it. Or get get a professional shave and haircut.
You need to be selfish sometimes and think about yourself, so after you meet your needs and desires, you can then meet the needs of those around you. It can only serve to make you happier and more content. Which then makes you a better, mother, father, sister brother, daughter, son and friend. Don’t let the lack of self care rob you of the simple pleasures in life!