How often do you take some time out to simply look after yourself?
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to overlook the importance of “self-care.” Unfortunately, telling yourself that you simply don’t have time to get some extra sleep, spend time with your friends, or cook a nutritious meal can lead to a seriously unhealthy lifestyle.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a complicated concept. It means that you look after yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. Some days that might just mean taking a multi-vitamin to get the extra nutrition you need. Other days, self-care might be about taking a day off and spending some time with your friends and family.
Here are some signs that you might not be giving your self-care routine the attention it deserves.
You’re Neglecting your Basic Needs
How often do you skip a nutritious home-cooked meal in exchange for some fast food picked up on the way home from work? Do you find that you’re never giving yourself any extra time for exercise? Although you can survive rushing from one task to another without much thought for yourself, it’s not a very good way to live. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows us just how important self-care really is.
If you’re constantly missing meals, and losing sleep, then you’re never going to be able to perform at your best, because your body won’t have the nutrition it needs to thrive. The best thing you can do is to take some time to look after yourself each day. Sit down for a meal full of vegetables, or make sure that you get to bed on time each night, so you wake up feeling more rested.
You’re Always Exhausted
Speaking of basic needs, the people who work the hardest and push themselves the furthest are often those who try to get by on a minimal amount of sleep. Many ambitious individuals assume that they simply don’t have the time to spend an extra hour in bed. Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep can end up having a serious impact on your mind and body.
While there are plenty of things that can make it difficult to get the rest you need, from stress to insomnia, the result of not giving your mind time to recuperate and rejuvenate is a higher chance of depression, reduced performance, and problems with your immune system. Make sure that you’re getting a minimum of 7 hours a day. Some people will need more sleep than this to function correctly.
You’ve Lost Focus on Your Priorities
We all have various important things in our lives that drive us to succeed. Your career may be very important for you because you love the work you do, or you may simply want a way of paying the bills. Either way, it’s important not to let your work overwhelm the rest of the important things in your life. Money is important, but it’s just one part of the puzzle.
If you constantly find yourself ignoring the other things that matter, then it might be time to slow down and start enjoying the things you love in this world. For instance, spend some extra time with your friends over a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Enjoy the flavors of the drink while you soak up the feeling of being in good company. Even with a busy schedule, you should be able to find half an hour for a quick coffee.
You Never Have Any “Me Time”
Just as it’s important to find time for the important things like your family and friends, it’s also crucial to make some time for yourself too. A lot of people overlook the importance of simply spending some time alone and getting to know their thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with taking some time out to relax by yourself every now and again.
Me Time allows you to work through problems more effectively and manage problems with greater ease. It allows you time to rest and recharge so that you can improve your focus and clarity. Spending some time on yourself also allows you to get to know yourself better so you can better understand your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to feel more confident as you pursue challenges in your life.
You Forget to Have Fun!
How often do you forget about all the different things you have to do each day and simply enjoy your life? There are so many things to love about the world we live in, yet when you’re very busy, it can be difficult to find the time to simply have fun. If you can afford it, treat yourself to something you enjoy – like a spa day or a trip to the theatre. If you want to keep your expenses low, you can always do something for free – like go for a walk with friends or spend some time outdoors with the family.
We all deserve to have at least some time doing the things we enjoy. A lot of people fall under the assumption that they simply have to give up on having fun when they have other responsibilities to think about. While you might have to give up on things like overtime at work every now and again, it will be well worth it to get more fun into your schedule.
You Don’t Listen to What your Body Needs
You’d be surprised how often your body tells you what it needs from you. Listening to your body is a crucial part of self-care, but it’s something we frequently ignore. In fact, we’re so used to forcing ourselves to follow a strict schedule, which many of us have learned to tune our bodies out. A good way to start hearing yourself again is to spend some time on mindfulness and meditation.
Take a few moments each day to simply listen to what your body has to tell you. If you’re feeling overly exhausted, try to schedule some more restful sleep. If you feel like you’re not getting the right balance of nutrients into your system, look into changing your diet. You can avoid a lot of problems with this simple act of self-care.
You Always Put Others First
Finally, while it’s nice to be a generous person, it’s worth noting that sometimes, you can’t always put other people’s needs before your own. While you can always look for ways to give the people around you a helping hand from time to time, remember that you need to put yourself first too. Don’t let people take advantage of your good nature.
Think about what you need to live a happy and healthy lifestyle, and make sure that you’re not contradicting your own needs to serve other people – like your boss, or even your friends. There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself at the top of your priority list sometimes.
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Caroline is a blogger at eHealth.com and a firm believer in holistic well-being. She lives by the phrase ‘healthy mind, healthy body’ and is constantly encouraging her friends and colleagues to meet their health goals. She is an strong advocate for nutritional eating and blogs regularly about the topic.