It is well known that stress leads to weakened immune function and has cascading consequences on the health of one’s body and mind and overall wellness 1. With life’s busy hectic day to day schedules it is important to be mindful and recognize when we need to give ourselves a break. This means setting aside the time to develop a daily plan for self care and commit to following through for renewing our energy. This often proves to be challenging when we feel pulled in many directions, guilty for putting our needs first or that we need to justify to ourselves and others for taking that time. You don’t require permission to take a break! Learning this fact is life changing. Taking a break and voicing that need comes with how we assert ourselves and a plan to commit to looking out for our needs as a functioning human being. Sometimes we are viewed as selfish when we begin to assert ourselves. At this time it is important to disregard this judgemental programming and know what is best for ourselves 4. The benefits of self care are so imperative to reducing our stress for our health and wellness. Let’s talk about the signs to becoming more self-aware and how to implement our plans to take care of ourselves.
- You don’t feel like yourself anymore
- Experiencing frequent illness and sick days
- Poor sleep quality
- Can’t recall the last time you had fun
- Always doing something for someone else
- Going through the motions of life or experiencing life on autopilot
- Can’t relax or slow things down
- Lacking compassion for yourself
- Struggle to keep up with your to-do list
- Experiencing strong emotions and feeling overwhelmed and exhausted
Regardless of these particular signs (and there are many more) we all need daily self care to avoid reaching this point and experiencing the negative effects of these items listed above. Too often we force ourselves to work and keep up with life to the point of exhaustion without giving ourselves breaks. These signs reinforce when we have been unfocused and disregarding our needs and demonstrate the humanistic value of self care for our wellness.
Benefits of Self Care
- Helps you regain focus and clarity and taking breaks improves your ability to perform 2
- Decrease the negative effects of stress on the body and mind 3
- Reduces the occurrence of feeling overwhelmed and burned out
- Improves the relationship you have with yourself and others
- Improves your quality of life, health and wellness
Ideas for Self Care
- Proper nutrition and supplements to correct any nutritional deficiencies
- Regular daily exercise
- Listening to your favourite music
- Bubble baths or relaxing showers
- Time management to narrow down priorities for the day (take one day at a time)
- Plan ahead
- Connect with nature
- Go out with a close friend
One of my favourite things I do to take care of myself is arrive to my workplace 10 mins early, park my car and put on 2-3 of my favourite songs and sing and dance bopping around for a few minutes. This helps ease the transition from dealing with frustrating drives and prepares me for the work day ahead.
What do you do to take care of yourself? I encourage discussion in the comments below. I think we commonly feel we need to figure this out alone. However, as social beings we can learn so much from each other’s experiences and connecting with others through shared experiences is healthy to grow!
Cynthia Zakariasen, front desk staff