Many times women think about their families before they think about themselves. Women spend their lives meeting the needs of others before spending a single moment thinking about their personal needs. Self-care is a term that many women hear for the first time when they reach out to a physician for symptoms of fatigue, stress, and even anxiety.
What is Self-Care?
Self-Care is taking adequate time for yourself to participate in things that you both want and need. The American Psychological Association defines some characteristics of self-care as relaxation, sleep, time with friends and family, extracurricular activities, and hobbies. When women stop participating in self-care, they find that they have high rates of stress and “burn-out.”
Hallmarks of Self-Care
There are several hallmarks of self-care that are important for women to do on a regular basis. Spending time alone, finding a support system, getting enough sleep, and making time for fun; are all important self-care strategies.
Spending Time Alone
Centerstone, a national not-for-profit behavioral health care provider, advocates that women spend time alone every day as part of their self-care routine. Many times women are “on-call” from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed. Whether they are caring for children, working, or running a household, they are always in the company of others.
Plan to spend 20-30 minutes alone, every day, as part of a self-care ritual. This time can be used to rest and refuel. Sit alone in your favorite spot, whether you’re outside at a park or in a comfortable chair on in your home. This time should be very important.
Finding people in your life that you can talk to about your daily struggles is going to help your relieve stress. If you don’t have close family or friends, then it is important that you seek out a support system. You can use the help of community support groups, online support groups, and even local counselors and social workers. According to the American Psychological Association, a healthy support system will assist with solving problems and relieving personal stress.
According to Sleep.org women not only need more sleep than men need, but they also experience more sleep disturbances than their male counterparts and handle the sleep deprivation worse. Sleep deprivation can cause anger, depression, hostility, and increased risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. All of these factors make sleep an important element of self-care that women can’t afford to skip out on.
Make Time For Fun
The Fort Garry Women’s Resource Centre recommends that women make time for activities that they enjoy. Making time for fun means that you are recharging your emotional bank with energy for those times when stress and fatigue are going to drain it. Enjoyable activities give you something to look forward to in stressful times making them less taxing and provide you with a release after a stressful week or day.
Why Stress Over Self Care?
Many times during a busy week, the idea of taking time for self-care can seem frivolous and even selfish. Why is it so important? Somehow, we have gotten this idea that taking care of ourselves should only be done as a reward for a hard week. Lifehacker points out that self-care isn’t a reward it should be part of the process.
Think about when you are working on a large project. How often will you push off a trip to the restroom, a lunch break, or a break in general, to finish the next batch of work? Limiting your care of yourself will not only make you burn out faster, but it will limit your ability to enjoy what you are doing.
Take the time to make the trip to the bathroom, take your lunch break, or take a walk around the office. It will increase your happiness and your overall enjoyment.