If you are a busy person, with others to care for, you probably feel you don’t have the time to look after yourself and do the things you enjoy. But introducing a self-care routine can have unexpected benefits, as counsellor Laura Sollis explains.
Do you find you are on a permanent treadmill, running from one job to the next, while desperately feeling like you need a break?
Imagine if you took that break, just some time for yourself doing what makes you happy. How would you feel doing this as part of a routine?
When we practise good self-care we feel able to give people more, our concentration and energy levels increase and our self-esteem improves. Sounds like a win-win situation doesn't it?
- Increased productivity
By taking time out, and regularly doing something that you enjoy, you'll feel more positive and therefore be more productive in your work. Setting some time aside in your routine for a fun or relaxing activity means that you will always have something to look forward to.
- Improved relationships
Self-care isn't just all about bubble baths and facemasks or even a trip to the gym. Self-care is also knowing when to say no.
Have you ever found yourself in a position where someone has asked you to do something for them, but you are swamped already? Perhaps you are thinking I really don't need this right now but you still find yourself saying yes.
Saying no or even not at the moment can make all the difference for you. If you tie yourself up in knots all the time for others, they won't receive the best of you. You may feel grumpy, tired and even resentful because they asked you in the first place. A snappy person isn't an easy person to live with. It leaves people wondering what they have done and, possibly, feeling hurt.
Saying no is saying yes to yourself and healthier relationships.
- Stronger immune system
When we introduce self-care techniques into our lives our immune system becomes stronger.
Stress and the chemicals it generates are not good for our health. When we constantly flood our bodies with stress chemicals we become prone to illnesses, which could start as the odd spot here or there, fatigue, rashes or even diarrhoea.
Illnesses like autoimmune diseases, asthma or eczema are made worse by stress. Getting the right nutrition and exercise is important to manage these conditions, but rest and relaxation are equally important.
So you see there are hidden benefits to self-care. Ultimately it is about introducing and maintaining balance in our lives. So many of us ignore the signs of stress and continue to plod on through. Yet if we broke a leg, we wouldn't be doing the shuffle dance and risk damaging our leg even more. We would be resting and taking time to recover.
If you are interested in learning more about introducing and maintaining good self-care habits the charity More Positive Me offers this online course.
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