Self Care is not Selfish

This blog brought to you by Drs. Poonam and Amar Singh, board-certified obesity management physicians, offering a comprehensive weight management program for patients.

Taking care of yourself is not being selfish. It is also a reminder that your health and happiness are worth the time and effort. It is important to remember that taking care of yourself is also your responsibility. Self-care can include nourishing yourself with regular meals and planned snacks, keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day, getting to sleep earlier or participating in de-stressing activities. It can also involve doing fun activities that you enjoy.

When you do things for yourself that bring more joy, peace of mind and balance into your life, you also start feeling better, have more energy and even cope better with daily stressors. Instead of grabbing a candy bar for an energy boost late afternoon, maybe you sip some herbal tea with a planned snack, or you get some fresh air outside and take a walk with a friend. Or instead of plopping on the couch to binge watch a show at the end of an exhausting day, you hop on your home exercise bike instead while still watching your favorite show. Though self-care fills you up and can recharge your batteries, how do you make time for something when your day is most likely already overscheduled?

Here are three things you can start doing today to fit self-care into your busy life:

Cultivate self-compassion

You are already probably used to taking care of others – your children, an ailing parent, a friend or even your pet. Now it is time to start treating yourself better too.

New research by Kristen Neff, PhD, has unveiled the power of self-compassion to boost positive emotions and make you feel better. You deserve to be treated as well as you would treat a friend.

Look for daily opportunities

Self-care is not just for weekends! With that mindset, your weekend may end up being more eating and drinking than your body needs.

Instead, every day you can look for opportunities to do any of the following:

  • take a deeper breath
  • use a meditation app even for just 5 minutes
  • walk in nature
  • expand your music play list and listen to music
  • pursue a hobby that brings you joy whether it’s playing guitar, dancing, reading or biking
  • treat yourself to a spa day at home by soaking in a warm bath or get a massage

Don’t go it alone

If you are struggling being motivated or finding time for self-care, you may want to ask for help.

Finding others who share your passions can also give you a motivation boost. For example, if you feel you need more “zen” in your life, consider taking a meditation class. If you’ve always wondered what it would feel like to try tap dancing or a Zumba class, now’s the time to challenge yourself in new ways.

If you don’t have the resources or time for a new class, find groups on social media that share your passion. It seems like Facebook has a group for everything hobby related.

Just like nothing in life ever stays the same, this holds true for self-care, too. As you age and approach different life stages, your needs and self-care activities will change also. Be ready for it, and remind yourself that you’re worth the effort!

You can improve self-care by cultivating self-compassion, not leaving self-care for weekends only and connecting with others who share your life passions. Lastly, do not put it off for the next weekend, the holidays or the zombie apocalypse. Start today and be regular. It will not take long before you begin to see the difference!

Enjoy your health!