Importance of Self-Care
Self-care has never been more important as schedules have escalated for those handling life, work and even home-schooling kids. The definition of self-care is to take action to preserve or improve one’s health. Stress is high, schedules are maxed for many with the addition of home-schooling and business are downscaling or even closing.
It takes time for self-care, as time is one of your most valuable resources. When do you have the time for yourself? You have to make the time! In this article we will cover 5 areas: Mental, physical, spiritual, social and emotional.
One: Mental Self-Care
Self-Care starts with a mindset of centering your thoughts and creating positive self-talk. One of the best ways to develop positive self-talk is an attitude of thankfulness and gratefulness. (See: Mindset of a Grateful Heart) Negative self-talk is destructive and lead to a victim mentality. (Video: Victim Mentality-in 6 Easy Steps!) A victim mentality is defeatist thinking, focusing on life’s disparities, then feeding on them. It creates a short-circuit that stunts personal growth.
Staying in that negative space will breed more negativity, resentment, bitterness and even anger. One thing I advise others to do is to create a phrase you can repeat every day starting with I can. (See: Saying Yes)
Two: Physical Self-Care
Important physical habits, especially at the halftime of life, include proper sleep, diet and exercise. Physical activity is a must. This includes exercise that will increase your heartrate, breath control, balance and flexibility. If you don’t move, your muscles will decline in effectiveness and atrophy. Consistency is the key. I have found, even as a singer, that pushing my breath support has become more difficult as the years are flying by.
When the COVID crisis hit, gyms closed. Just walking wasn’t pushing my breath enough, so finding programs that would push me physically was foundational in helping me develop more consistency. I purchased a stationary bike with a training series that did the trick. Find what will work for you, as well as your budget. If you are running, biking, or even walking, concentrate on taking deep breaths. (see course: Vocal Breathing Techniques)
Diet is another area of importance. Everybody is different. Our son who was a personal trainer for years always told his clients, food is fuel. Food also brings enjoyment, but if you concentrate on the sustainability and energy food brings, that mindset of self-care will help you create a lifestyle of healthy eating. (Free Goal Setting Worksheets) Getting enough sleep is also a very important element of self-care. Find what relaxes you, whether it’s taking a bath, reading or even getting outside to look at the stars. Watch use of social media, especially before going to bed. Turn off anything that will cause your mind to race while trying to fall asleep! (see Women at Halftime book, pgs. 103-108)
Three: Spiritual Self-Care
Just like a battery provides power in your car, your spiritual beliefs will either steadily energize you or leave you stranded with no power and regret. I believe in the need for a Higher Power. (see Bad Code book, p.130-134 ) Trust in a supreme being is absolutely vital in dealing with guilt, shame, failure and the other feelings leading to negative self-talk. Not everyone shares this view; however, many have no idea what they believe in. This, they continually search for meaning, wandering from one trend to another.
Everyone has some spiritual belief, whether it is belief in no God, in an angry God, a judging God, a God manifest in objects, or a God who cares and watches over you. The power to change comes with the belief that there is something bigger than yourself that will give you the strength to break free. This is a huge principle of self-care. When you don’t have to carry the full load of instigating change and outcome, there is absolute freedom that occurs. This is one reason why prayer is so powerful. It frees us up!
Four: Social Self-Care
We need each other. But social media has created a false sense of time together and interaction. I love online training and virtual learning, but there is something magical about meeting face-to-face. We are created as social creatures. There is power in giving and receiving hugs and physical interaction.
The danger lies in creating a false sense of security. Individuals may feel connected to their social media cohorts, but such relationships rely on a paper-thin base that crumbles easily. Substantial studies reveal that connection with friends or relatives is one of the best activities for staving off dementia. (see Women at Halftime book, footnote #59) At midlife it is important to take stock of our relationships to see how they can be improved.
Five: Emotional Self-Care
Americans are among the most stressed out populations in the world. Gallup’s 2019 data states over half of the American population experiences stress during the day, which is 20% higher than the world average of 35%.* Women are more stressed out than men.** Most of this is work-related.
There is the fear of being laid off, staff cutbacks, increased expectations and lack of control. Now, add the additional responsibility of home-schooling children when schools are closed from a virus, doing most of their schoolwork online. This causes even more stress! It becomes more and more important to find a personal diversion and relief from the responsibilities and additional workload. (see: Preventing Burnout)
You are in Charge of You
Do something for you. You are in charge of your personal self-care and well-being. If you don’t do it, no one will. Don’t feel like this is a selfish quest. You deserve it!
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