I once heard it said that stress is the root of all disease. While this may be an extreme statement, I do think there is quite a bit of truth to it. Stress is not a good environment for a healthy body. Having a body full of stress could be likened to trying to grow a garden in toxic soil. In fact, stress actually releases toxins in the body and can also deplete the gut of good bacteria.
The Importance of Self-Care
Self-care may sound selfish, and some of us may have difficulties with the idea of being “selfish”, but at the end of each day, there is only one person responsible for taking care of you, and that is you.
If you are to be a good mother, father, partner, worker, or whatever it is you aim to be, taking care of yourself is an essential first step. Before you can take care of business or take care of others, you need to ensure you have the energy, vitality and health to do so.
Otherwise, it’s like trying to drive cross-country with no gas in your gas tank. Fill up your “gas tank” by taking ample time in your schedule to take care of you. Schedule “me time” if you have to, literally blocking out this time for yourself on the calendar, and protect it as if it is a meeting with the most important business connection ever, or a play date with your child if family is more important to you than your career. Whatever it takes set aside your you time and be devoted to it.
Your time can take a number of shapes and forms, all dependent on what makes you happy and helps you to feel relaxed, energized and recharged. Here are some ideas to help you get started if you’re new to a self-care regimen:
- Take a hot bath, indulge with luxurious bath salts and essential oils
- Take time to talk on the phone with a best friend without feeling rushed
- Give yourself a foot rub, rub pampering oils or body butter into your feet
- Read a magazine or a book without feeling any rush, take your time and really enjoy it
- Take a walk or go to a yoga class
- Play with your pets or children
- Make your favourite food for dinner, don’t think about the cost
- Take yourself shopping and buy yourself something new to wear
- Clean up your house
Hopefully this list will give you a good start and maybe some good ideas for forms of self-care you can begin to exercise regularly. As you can see, self-care can take a variety of forms. It doesn’t always mean being solitary, sometimes it means having tea with a good friend or playing with your pets or kids.
You may even be surprised that I put cleaning on the list of self-care activities. Over the years, I have learned that when I take care of my living environment and clean it up, I am really taking care of myself. It took me a while (and years of messiness!) to learn that, but now that I see cleaning as self-care, I not only do it regularly, I actually enjoy it!