You’ve probably heard the term “self-care” used a lot lately. It’s become a popular buzzword in the media and in personal development circles. However, you still may be unclear on what it means or even think it doesn’t apply to you! There’s a common misconception that it involves getting your hair or nails done or having regular massages or spa treatments. Although taking a bubble bath or having a facial might be what some consider self-care it’s not only about pampering and sometimes it doesn’t involve any at all.
While the concept does involve taking care of your physical self, it actually goes much deeper. Read on to learn what self-care is, why it matters – especially for busy business owners – and how to get started on making it a priority.
What is it?
Self-care covers a lot of areas with regard to caring for yourself. It involves nurturing your body, mind and spirit. It focuses on building yourself up so that your internal resources don’t become depleted. Essentially, self-care is being as good to yourself as you would be to someone you care about. It requires you to show yourself compassion and encourages you to be vulnerable with others, asking for help you when you need it.
What doesn’t fall under the umbrella of self-care are self-destructive coping mechanisms such as using drugs, drinking, gambling or excessive retail therapy. These things only make you feel good in the short-term and you usually wind up feeling worse in the long run. They aren’t effective in building your resilience or facilitating your overall wellbeing.
Why should I care?
There are lots of benefits to practicing self-care. Embracing this concept though can be more difficult for those of us who’ve always placed emphasis on the welfare of others. But, giving all your energy to those around you without filling your own tank back up leaves you depleted and empty.
That’s no way to live and it’s a story that is all too common amongst busy small business owners. We’ve all heard the analogy about putting on your oxygen mask first – it’s easy advice to ignore.. until it isn’t! My clients often find me during a period of realisation that they can’t do it all, at once, and on their own. They are usually much close to burnout than they ever imagined and our work together becomes a critical first step in their self-care journey.
It’s such an important concept because spending time and effort on yourself rejuvenates and energises you. Taking time to indulge in your own interests demonstrates your worth, leads to improved self-esteem and results in a more positive outlook on the world. It teaches us a lot about ourselves and provides insight into what we need in order to be the best version of ourselves. In turn, we have more to give back to the people we care most about – family, friends, clients etc. The people who would suffer the most if we did burnout.
Setting healthy boundaries reminds both yourself and others that you are worth looking after and that your needs matter. Instead of just pushing through and trying desperately to keep up with the spinning hamster wheel of life and small business, you get to stop, breathe, rest and restore. It’s allowing yourself the time and space to see where you can make adjustments, ask for help or even quit doing certain things altogether in an effort to improve the quality and enjoyability of your life as a whole (including your work).
Self-care helps you better cope with stress and to prioritise what’s important to you. And again, you’ll be better equipped to take care of others when you take the time necessary to meet your own needs.
What does it look like in practice?
There are countless ways to add self-care into your routine. The key is to choose activities or practices that are most enjoyable to you and/or provide you with the most benefits. This can be challenging when we are restricted in time (or movement as we’ve experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic). At the moment we have more freedom to go to the beach or the gym, or visit friends and family – so take advantage while you can! Busy schedules mean we often have to get creative with how we fulfil our self-care needs, but this is when it becomes more important than ever.
Going for a walk in nature is great for those who enjoy the outdoors and have easy access to local trails or paths. Finding an enjoyable way to move your body daily is something I encourage all of my clients to do. What could work for you in that regard?
Spending time out with friends can be rejuvenating, but so can saying no. Allowing yourself to decline invitations or requests when you’re not feeling it is a big part of caring for yourself. Learning how to Say No Easily can greatly assist in cutting down on your commitments and freeing up space for what really matters and what fills your cup.
Treating yourself to a favourite, affordable indulgence like a Netflix movie or delivery from the local ice cream shop are also good examples of self-care. As is taking a bath or establishing a regular (or even irregular!) meditation practice.
These are just a few of the ways you can easily incorporate self-care into your life.
Now you know what self-care is and why it’s important. You’ve also hopefully taken away some ideas of how to get started, so you’re on your way to adding this useful practice to your life. What first step will you take toward uplevelling your self-care practice this week?
Until next time.
P.S. If you need more help with getting on top of your self-care than a few articles can provide, you’re in the right place! Book your no-obligation Intro Call and discover how changing your conversations can make a huge difference.
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