self careYou can hardly pick up a magazine or browse through the internet without catching the term self care.  It has become a buzz word for children and adults, in schools, work and among friends.  But why?

Many people think of self care as an indulgence.  Something they may do if they have time.  But definitely not something worth making a priority.

Unfortunately, the trend these days is to take care of work, the kids and all the other details first.  The trend has gone away from putting on our own oxygen mask first. This advice, given at the beginning of every flight can be applied throughout life.  If a plane is in trouble and the oxygen masks come down, you put your own mask on first because, if you don’t you may pass out and be unable to help those who are less capable, such as your child or an elderly passenger near by.

The same is true throughout life.  If we don’t take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of the people and tasks around us to the best of our abilities.  When a mom first comes home from the hospital, the most offered advice is to nap when the baby naps.  Moms are exhausted from nine months of carrying a child and hours of labor, and are put into a state of further exhaustion by a child who doesn’t sleep through the night.  By napping she is able to function more fully when the baby really needs her.

Self care is not an indulgence.

The first assumption people make when they think about self care is that we are talking about hours out of your day.  People hear the phrase and think of pedicures, massage or a day at the spa.  While these things are nice and may help to reboot your week, self care is something you do daily to take care of yourself and you can start now.

Examples of Self Care

Self care includes eating well.  Making sure that the food you put in your body is fueling you and not bringing your energy level further down.  Eating lean meat with a variety of fruits and vegetable and drinking plenty of water throughout you day is an easy way to take care of yourself.

Getting enough sleep.  Sleep is when our bodies and our minds reset.  It is when we heal.  Getting enough hours of sleep can make the difference between being exhausted all the time and being able to have the energy to get your work done and enjoy the time you spend with your family.

Breathing.  Yes, I just said breathing.  Breath is something we take for granted.  Don’t we breathe every day?  Yes.  But take a few minutes right now.  Close your eyes and breath in for a count of four.  Hold it for a count of five and breath out for a count of six.  Repeat that for a few minutes.  Something as simple as breathing can restore your attitude and your energy.  If you enjoyed this exercise, you may want to consider meditating for a few minutes a day.  There are apps that can guide you through meditation and help you learn to focus your breathing.

Exercise is not only good for your body, but it’s great for your mental health as well.  Going out for a walk, ride, run or swim can help clear your head and even increase your energy level.

Self care doesn’t have to be hard.  It doesn’t have to be time consuming.  It can be as simple as making the decision and starting today.  It is good for you, but it’s also good for your family, your work and even your relationships.  Self care allows you to be the best you that you can be.

How will you take care of yourself today?