Many women find they are very busy caring for others and can forget to care for themselves and they can forget to care about themselves. Caring for yourself involves awareness of physical, spiritual/psychological/emotional needs and getting a work/life balance. It is not selfish to care for and about yourself.
Physical When you think of caring for yourself physically you will probably think of getting 7 ½ to 8 hours sleep each night, eating a balanced diet which caters for any special health needs and getting some exercise. You also need to ensure you have regular health checks before you get sick and follow medical advice. When you are sick you need to get plenty of rest and see your doctor if necessary. Stay away from work so you do not spread germs.
Take regular breaks from work in the form of holidays. They will survive without you at work and you will benefit from a proper break. A few days or a weekend away can do wonders for you physically and emotionally. If money is short, you will need to be creative in how you manage this. Perhaps you can go camping or swap houses with a trusted friend who lives in another area.
Spiritual/Psychological/Emotional Spiritual/ psychological/emotional health is closely linked to physical health. When you are down in the dumps or feel stressed for an extended amount of time your physical health will also suffer which will make you feel more negative. Taking time to nurture your spiritual needs is part of taking care of yourself. Spiritual beliefs take many forms. Some people find attending a regular service or meeting with people who have the same belief uplifting.
It is important to make time to do creative things which bring you pleasure. You may enjoy gardening, scrap booking, reading, creative writing, craft, art or another activity. Make regular time for your hobby. Some women go to a quilting group or a regular craft class to enjoy the company of others who share their interest. Attending a group means you commit to that activity on a regular basis.
Take some time to daydream and stare into space. You may also enjoy listening to some music. Putting your feet up and resting is not wasting time.
It is important to have confidence, healthy self esteem and a positive outlook. If you feel you need help there are some great books, courses and internet resources available. Some form of counselling or a support group may be useful.
Spending quality time with those we love is an important aspect of self care. It is uplifting to spend time with a friend who accepts you for the person you are. When there is mutual respect both parties benefit from the association and there is no competition or jealousy. Family can be a great source of support and let’s not forget the love of our pets.
Life/Work Balance Having a job which provides sufficient income and which you enjoy brings many benefits. However, it is sometimes tricky to achieve a balance between your work and home/personal life. If you do not feel you have achieved a work/life balance it is worth taking some time to really think about the situation. You may need to talk to family members and your employer to find a solution that works for you. If you are a fulltime stay-at-home mother or a carer you need to make sure you get some time for yourself. If possible, have some time away from your responsibilities, even if it is just one night.
You are the one who knows what you really need so you are the one who can best take care of yourself. The psychiatrist, author and public speaker, Jean Shinoda Bolen said, ‘When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.’