Is Self-Care Eluding You?
How are you at taking care of yourself? You may know that you are lacking in this area or you may think you do take care of your needs. You may not realize that the level of care you give yourself is far less than optimal, and may even tip the scales towards neglect. Yes, circumstances may force you to spend less time on yourself than you would like, and there are usually dozens of reason why.
However, before you can make a conscious effort to improve the level of care you give to yourself, you need to realize the areas you are deficient in. Self-care may be a problem if you find yourself doing any of the following things.
You Are Selfless
You may have gotten the message growing up that others needs are more important than yours, or you may just be a really compassionate caring person, but if everyone else always comes first, you are exhibiting a classic sign of self-neglect. By prioritizing the needs of everyone except your own, you may find yourself being burnt out or resenting doing things altogether.
Though nobody likes someone that is selfish and controlling, let’s be realistic, you have to put yourself first sometimes. You may end up unable to do anything for anyone if you continue to put others first, not to mention starting to resent all the people you give up things for.
Your Unhappy With Your Appearance
If you feel guilty for taking time for yourself or spending money on yourself even when time or the budget allows it, self-care may be eluding you. You have the right to spend time on yourself, if that means indulging in a bubble bath for an hour, moisturizing and doing weekly pedicures, getting your hair done, it is a necessary part of your overall care.
Another typical symptom of this is the chronic habit of dressing in whatever is the easiest. Although it is great to be comfy and not have to iron clothes, what we wear and what we see when we look in the mirror has an impact on how we feel. Take some time every weekend to arrange your outfits for the coming week. This involves picking out accessories, shoes and steam ironing your clothes if needed. If your style is more casual that’s fine, but wear things that you feel great in. You are special, dress for the part.
You Don’t Have Friends
As humans we are social creatures, we need to feel connected, a part of. Not having a small circle of closely knit friends is often another obvious symptom of poor self-care. It takes time to develop and nurture friendships and if you feel like your needs are second to others you may not make the time for friends.
Good friends are there not only through the good times, but also the bad and can be an invaluable part of your well-being, emotional and mental. Whether lack of friendships is your choice, or something forced upon you by family, it is not healthy and ultimately affects your well-being.
You Feel Unfulfilled
You may be grown, have a home and money in the bank, but still have the sinking feeling that you have achieved nothing or not enough in life. This could be the result of personal longing, because you never did what you wanted. Perhaps you chose a career that would give you stability and security because others told you that was the way to go. Not feeling a sense of purpose and direction, living according to others rules can make us overlook our own needs and wants because it feels like we will never get what we want in the end anyway.
Well guess what, there is no better time than now to get up and go after whatever it is that would fulfill you. What needs to be kept in mind is the fact that no other person can achieve this for you, so go get it. It doesn’t have to happen overnight (and probably won’t), just making a decision to follow your path, your hearts desire can make you feel alive again. If you feel lost and have no idea what your heart’s desire is, just can start asking, What is it I really want? How could this situation be better? What would bring me joy? Ask these questions often and give your subconscious a chance to ponder it and just notice what comes up. It may take several days or more but eventually things will surface.
Just The Basics
A lot of the things already addressed are certainly important areas, but don’t forget about the basics. Are you getting enough sleep, are you eating healthy meals, taking time for personal hygiene, are you going to the dentist and doctor to take care of your health. These seem like obvious things but often it’s easy to get in caretaker mode and make excuses or procrastinate on getting your own needs met. I just want to remind you here that it’s your job to take care of you. It is really okay to say No to someone else in order to take care of yourself. If what you really need is a night off where you just sit with a cup of tea and read a good book you need to let others know.
You may need to work on some affirmations like “It’s okay to take care of me” or “Saying No to someone else allows me to say Yes to me and that is OK.”
You Don’t Exercise
Not taking time to exercise can have some really detrimental side effects. It directly affects your well-being on an emotional and physical level. Lack of exercise boosts the likelihood of negative health effects developing, reduces quality of life by impacting mobility and flexibility, and affects appearance.
Exercise performed just 3 times weekly can help you maintain a healthy body weight, toned body, and is great for your mental health. Exercise is a great way to let go of daily stress, and increases serotonin levels and lightens your mood.
Life Feels Like Groundhog Day
You are just going through the motions, life has lost its luster. It feels like there is no real pleasure in life and your moments of joy are limited if they are there at all.
If it’s just a matter of life feels dreary and one moment blends into the next, mindfulness may be the perfect antidote. Mindfulness is present moment awareness with no judgment no expectation, just being in the now. In the now you can look at your surroundings and see the beauty that you may have missed, you can see children laughing and playing, you can really listen to a favorite song and maybe sing along or dance a bit. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we have to do that we miss the moments that bring magic to our life.
Feeling as if your life has no real purpose or meaning can be not only sad, it can lead to a cycle of negativity and can spiral into depression. If you have reached this level where you feel like you might be depressed, please reach out to a health professional.
It would be nice if self care were second nature, but the truth is that many of us got messages that our needs really aren’t all that important. If that is the case for you it might be necessary to check in and see what beliefs you have that are no longer serving you and start to reprogram yourself. Whether you believe in one life or multiple ones, you only have one shot at this one, so make it count.
Start to become self-aware, ask what would feel good right now, what do I need right now? It goes back to the airplane analogy, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. Taking care of your needs and desires can only serve to make you happier and more content.