If you’ve been keeping up with current trends in the last couple of years, there’s no doubt you’ve come across the term ‘self care.’ Maybe you have pre-conceived notions about that term and what you think it entails — but no matter what label we put on it, it’s becoming increasingly clear that focusing on our own wellness is a critical part of modern living.
The more we learn about the human body and the human condition in general, the more it becomes clear that there is an inexorable link between mental and physical wellness. Whether you call it “me time,” “self care,” “mindfulness,” or anything else — the concept is the same. If you don’t schedule time to take care of yourself, your mind and body will inevitably break down, leaving you unable to operate at your potential.
Best case scenario, forgetting to make some time for yourself can lead you to feel tired, burnt out, and maybe a little resentful of those for whom you exhaust yourself, such as kids, a spouse, or your boss. Worst case scenario, you can do serious damage to both physical and mental health. Absent a proactive strategy for self care, people will turn to things that feel good in the moment but are ultimately destructive, such as overeating, excessive TV watching or video game playing, and neglecting the outdoors or exercise.
For many, the ideal self care activity is something like yoga, a creative fitness class, or maybe a martial arts program. With these activities, you’re able to become present by focusing on challenging physical tasks that strengthen your body, while also requiring your mind to stay attuned to each moment. Many people feel incredibly refreshed after even one hour long yoga class per week. Take that oasis away, and the week’s balance can collapse, leaving them feeling unfulfilled.
There’s been a conversation in our society lately about depression and suicide — and while making a real effort to rededicate yourself to self care is certainly not a panacea for these serious problems, it can be a brick in the castle that forms your strategy in terms of staying mentally well. We know that positive changes in brain chemistry occur when someone starts working out regularly. Often, the hardest part is committing to a weekly schedule that doesn’t just include everyone else’s obligations… but also the obligations that you have to yourself.