Do you take proper care of yourself? You might think you do, but most of us don’t. Finding time to invest in self-care can be challenging, especially when you live an extra busy lifestyle. You spend your days bouncing between work, family and social commitments, which leaves you with little time left to catch your breath, let alone time to care for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Multiple reasons and circumstances usually force you to spend less time on yourself than you would like. Most times, we put the needs of others ahead of ourselves, neglecting our own self-care, which is far from optimal.
Before you can attempt to improve your self-care, you need to do a personal inventory to discover your deficient areas. Self-care may elude you if you do any of the following things.
1. You Put Yourself Last
A classic sign of self-neglect involves putting the needs of everyone else in your life first. In reality, you must put yourself first sometimes, otherwise you won’t be able to do anything for anyone else. When you don’t prioritize yourself, you end up burnt out and resent helping others. It’s like the speech before you fly. You need to save yourself first to save others.
2. You Don’t Spend Time With Friends
Good friends are an important resource through the good times and the bad. They can be an invaluable part of your mental health and wellbeing. It is important to schedule time with like-minded individuals.
3. You Neglect Your Personal Care
If you don’t indulge in doing little things like soaking in a bubble bath, moisturizing your skin, or simply brushing your hair. Or if you feel guilty for a getting a pedicure or facial, then you are neglecting your personal care. These little things are an important part of your overall health. It is also important to get out of your pajamas or sweat pants once in a while and get dressed up. We always feel better when we look good.
4. You Don’t Have a Morning Routine
Starting the day right is a good way to ensure you maintain your mental and physical health. This should include a healthy breakfast, daily exercise, journaling, or meditation. You need to figure out what works best for you and implement it daily. Over time, this will become a habit, helping you to take some time for self-care every day. Remember that it takes 21 days to build and maintain a habit.
Related reading: 7 Easy Steps to Develop Positive Habits
5. You Don’t Have a Passion
Sometimes you get the sinking feeling that you haven’t achieved enough in your life. Maybe you didn’t finish college, pursue your ideal career, or try out a personal passion. The good news is that it is never too late to make a change, but you are the only one who can decide to make it.
You need to have a passion, something that brings you joy, something to look forward to. Otherwise you are just going through the motions of life without doing something that makes you happy. It could start a cycle of negativity that could spiral into depression. Take the time to learn something new. Keep trying new things until you find something that makes you happy to get out of bed every morning.
6. You Make Poor Exercise and Eating Choices
Exercise directly affects your physical and emotional well-being and it is the biggest deficit of self care. Lack of exercise negatively affects your health and reduces your quality of life. Even if you only exercise three times a week, it can help you maintain a healthy body. It is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
A proper diet is essential to a healthy life. It is important to ensure that you nourish your body with good food, because your brain doesn’t work as well underfed.
7. You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is critical for physical and mental health, which is why it should be a priority regardless of how busy you are. It is easy to prioritize other commitments over sleep, but getting good quality sleep allows your body to heal, re-energize and recover.
With a good night’s sleep, you can perform better. Without proper sleep, we make poor decisions, pick the wrong food to eat and avoid exercise.
8. You Don’t Pick Realistic goals
You can manage your mental health by setting realistic goals, but there is no point committing to something that is unachievable or puts pressure on you so that you feel like a failure. Spend some time considering your aspirations and make goals that are challenging, but possible for you to reach. Add things to your routine that will work long-term with your lifestyle.
Related reading: Set and Achieve Your Goals with These 15 Easy Tricks
9. You Don’t Take Time Off
These busy days, it’s easy to find yourself in a cycle of continuous activity, moving from one activity to another until it seems you are just going through the motions. It is important to make sure you don’t get lost in the chaos by scheduling some down time. It could be something as simple as an afternoon away from your normal routine, or something extravagant, like a weekend away or vacation. Whatever you choose, taking a break will allow you to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate.
Last Words on Self-Care
Although self-care should be second nature, many of us have ignored these instinctual behaviors and replaced them with a robotic pursuit of daily living. You need to be selfish sometimes and to think about yourself so you can meet your needs and desires. It can only make you happier and more content, which makes the people in your life happier, too.
Feature image by Alisa Anton on Unsplash.