What is self-care?
When you think about self-care what springs to mind? Is it leisurely lunches, special treats and spa days? Perhaps it feels a little self-indulgent or something which will take up too much time? Whilst it is good to plan occasional indulgent treats, self-care is much more than this. It is about creating space in our daily life to do that which we need to provide energy and to sustain us.
The International Self- Care Foundation defines self-care as, “the actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others, in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, wellbeing or wellness.”
It involves paying attention to what you need to stay happy and healthy, and taking responsibility for implementing what you need. For example, ensuring you get enough rest and relaxation, quality time with loved ones, and taking breaks at work.
For busy professionals work can be all-consuming. Taking care of home and family life can stretch us, leaving little time or energy for ourselves. We may simply be too busy and feel that taking time for ourselves to be self-indulgent, rather than an essential part of daily life. However, neglecting self-care will impact not only ourselves but also our work and loved ones as we risk our health and wellbeing.
Here are 7 reasons why self-care is essential for busy professionals
Improves physical health – Paying attention to what you need to be physically healthy will keep your body in good shape. Getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well should all form part of self-care. Taking a walk, planning healthy meals and getting to bed at a sensible time are all essential elements which can become part of everyday life and will improve your physical health.
Keeps healthy perspective – Whatever may be going on in your life, looking after yourself will help you keep a healthy perspective. Focus on positive thoughts, consider what you are thankful for and what really matters in your life, and do the things you enjoy or need.
Enhances relationships – Giving time to your relationships will enhance and improve them in a meaningful way. Having coffee with a friend and spending quality time with loved ones will promote healthy relationships. We are more available to others when we look after ourselves simply by being less stressed and more approachable.
Improves mental wellbeing – Spending time doing activities and practices which sustain you, improves your mental health. For example, taking time out of a busy day to read a book or practice mindfulness, rather than mindless scrolling on social media, will enhance mental wellbeing.
Prevents stress and burnout – Self-care, particularly when life is busy, will build your resilience. Looking after your health and wellbeing is crucial in order to stay well, and prevent stress and burnout.
Increases productivity – Working flat out does not make us more productive! Good self-care will provide energy and focus to be more productive and get stuff done. Taking breaks, putting healthy boundaries around work/non-work time, and not checking emails out of hours, will make you more effective at your job.
Become more self-aware – Integrating self-care into your life enables you to understand what you need to be happy and healthy. It is important to notice what your body is telling you. Self-awareness will develop as you become more mindful of your needs and reap the benefits of good self-care.
Doing what you need to look after yourself can feel difficult when there are pressing work issues and family commitments consuming your time. However, understanding that self-care is essential for your health, happiness and wellbeing, will help you to implement what you need to energise and sustain you. Moving towards seeing self-care as central will enable you to live a more productive and fulfilled life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog
My name is Diane Benson and I support busy professionals to be more effective, reduce stress and achieve a healthy balance in life. Providing clarity and focus for a more fulfilling personal and professional life.
Sign up to receive FREE RESOURCES which are designed to support you in your personal and professional development. You will also receive my blog and other news and tips once you sign up.