When life is stressful and you’ve got a lot on your plate, you probably focus most of your energy on finding ways to solve the problem or, perhaps, to worry about it. That makes sense. Challenging periods bring about intense emotions. However, breaking out of your panic to take time for self-care can have a tremendously positive impact on your energy level and your outlook. Follow along with me as I talk about why it’s natural for self-care to fall by the wayside when you’re stressed and why you shouldn’t forget to take care of yourself during challenging times.
Why Self-Care Levels Decrease
It may not even occur to you to remember to eat right or spend time on a hobby you love when you’re facing an intense period of difficulties. That’s because your mind automatically goes into fight or flight mode, and your brain is focused only on how to fix the trouble you’re having. You’re stuck living in survival mode, and doing something nice for yourself may seem like too much of a luxury to spare at this time. If you’re not used to pampering yourself or allowing yourself some downtime, it certainly won’t occur to you to do so when the going gets tough, when you actually need it most. Self-care has to become ingrained in your habits or added to your calendar for it to become a habit.
Benefits of Self-Care
Despite the fact that putting the focus on yourself for a change feels foreign and frivolous, I assure you it’s something that is worthwhile and can even help to make things better. Self-care goes beyond just eating well and getting adequate rest, though those are two essentials of taking good care of yourself. There are several aspects of your core being that need to be nourished in order to be a healthy and whole person. These include your social activities, leisure time, emotional connections, spiritual side, physical needs and mental stimulation. It’s true. We, as humans, have a lot of needs to be met. When these aspects of our nourishment are lacking, we feel run down, depressed, tired, unsteady and anxious. Making the time to address these needs will rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit so you can focus more clearly on finding solutions to the problems you face. When you’re depleted, you don’t have the energy and mind power that’s needed.
Ways to Take Care of Yourself
The list of self-care actions is practically endless. Anything that makes you feel better and that you enjoy counts, really. Try to focus on what truly feeds your soul. I know your time and energy are limited. It’ll be easier to and more effective to do things you love the best. Do try to incorporate some of the basics, if you’re lacking in these areas, though. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food and exercising even a little can go a long way toward improving every other aspect of your life. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit. Choose one hobby you enjoy that’s easily accessible to you. Fun and leisure is something we often don’t get enough of to begin with. If spending time with friends or family is something that energizes you, incorporate other people in your choices so that you can gain social exposure. Isolation can be draining. On the other hand, if you truly feel you need alone time, honor that and stick to solitary activities. Consider the categories above and brainstorm some ways you can do things for yourself to fill the holes in those spaces. Try to be sure each part of yourself receives attention.
Taking care of you truly is important. Remember that if you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you’re not much good to anyone else. This time will pass. Ensuring your own needs are met will help to make it pass more seamlessly.