You Gotta Look Out for #1. Don’t Forget to Take Care of You!
What comes to mind when you hear the words “Self Care?” Do you think of exercise? Eating healthy? Taking the time to hang out with friends? Getting a good night’s sleep? Petting your dog? Well, “self-care” encompasses all of these things, but it’s about consistency. Ideally, self-care is a regular practice—part of your everyday existence—like eating your lunch or doing your homework.
Why is self-care so important? Well, self-care is more than just a way to give yourself a break when you’re feeling stressed. Proper and consistent self-care can actually heighten your productivity and make you a more successful person in the long run. An article from Psychology Today reminds us not to “…confuse busyness with productivity.” In other words, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the busier you are, the more productive you are. In fact, the article goes on to say that the most productive people often aren’t the busiest. They’re the people who know how to prioritize and manage their time well. And in Stephen Covey’s now classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, #7 is “Self-Renewal.” For him, this means exercise, and spiritual renewal such as yoga and meditation.
It makes sense, right? If you never take time for yourself—for those activities that give you peace and energy—you’ll simply exhaust yourself! And who can be productive or successful when they’re exhausted? Or, in the words of Oprah Winfrey: “If you neglect to recharge a battery, it dies. And if you run full speed ahead without stopping for water, you lose momentum to finish the race.” And I think we can all agree, Oprah knows a thing or two about success and productivity.
Even if you’re already someone who believes in the importance of self-care, it’s easy to find yourself sliding into the trap of “Busy, Busy, Busy,” and out of sync with your own needs. So if you feel like you’re not taking time for your own self-care, here are a few strategies to get you back on track.
- Think small. Self-care doesn’t have to be a 2-hour spinning class 3 times a week. Self-care can be as simple as drinking a mug of tea and reading for 20 minutes before bed, or taking your dog for a 15-minute walk. Even small actions can have a big pay-off.
- Write a self-care activity on your “to-do” list. If you’re a slave to your “to-do list” (I know I am!), then make a self-care activity one of the items. It might feel silly to write down “go for a walk” or “bake cookies with Mom,” but go for it!
- Involve someone else. If you’ve scheduled an ice-cream date with your best friend, you’re far less likely to break it. You’ll be accountable for taking that break from studying, and you’ll gain some needed friend-time in addition.
- Take in this quick read: 7 Habits That Will Absolutely Change Your Life (And YOU)