I read an article recently that referred to self-care as “refuelling”.
“Self-care” may not be words that resonate with everyone, so perhaps imagining your body and mind like engines that need continuous refuelling to operate optimally might work better for you.
The care we give to ourselves, and how we refuel our mind and body plays an essential role in how happy and healthy we are.
We all have to give out so much of our energy in our day to day life, whether that is at work, in our homes, with our family, in our relationships, or maybe clubs and organisations that we are a part of.
Self-care, or refuelling, is about making time for those activities that revive you, that restore your energy, and bring balance to your body, mind, and spirit. Cultivating a caring and compassionate attitude towards ourselves is also an essential aspect of self-care.
Unique for each individual
Self-care is so unique and varied for each individual. One person’s self-care might be another person’s idea of torture. Self-care could be listening to your favourite music, but equally it could be silence, meditation; self-care could be spending time with your children, but it could also be taking a break from your children; it could be going to the gym, resting instead of going to the gym; self-care could be turning off your mobile phone; being in nature; spending time with a group of friends, spending some time alone; the list goes on and on.
How we refuel can also differ from one day to the next. What is important is developing awareness around your unique needs and preferences, and responding as best you can to these needs and preferences on a day to day basis.
Why is self-care so important?
When you are caring for yourself appropriately, it is likely that you will be able to have a sense of balance in your life, where you feel you have enough energy and enthusiasm for everyday life and what it brings.
If we have healthy self-care practices in our lives, we will be far more resilient when we meet difficult or challenging times in our lives, as we will have the ability to recover far quicker from these adversities as we will be able to bring the appropriate care and rest that we need in response to such difficulties.
If you are going through a difficult time right now, discovering how best to uniquely care for your body and mind will be an essential part of getting to a better place in yourself.
The challenge of time
There will of course be weeks where there might be so much going on that it’s a real challenge to find the time to refuel your mind and body in the way that you need. However it’s important that this doesn’t continue to be the norm, because your health and wellbeing will really suffer as a result.
Sometimes people feel that their needs come after the needs of others in their life, and because of this, there is little time left for their needs. This can often be true to a certain degree. However if we are to be healthy and well, and to be there for the people who are important to us, we must first start by making the time to properly caring for ourselves, and by meeting our own needs as best we can.
Maybe this could be your first self-care goal, to work out how you could get the support and help that you need in your life in order to care for yourself in the way that you deserve.
Start small. Maintaining a healthy body and mind is done through small every day efforts that can be integrated into our busy lives, and that we can build on over time, so that we can become happier and more resilient.
Caring for yourself in difficult aspects of your life
Self-care or refuelling the mind and body is particularly important if there are aspects of your life that are quite challenging.
There may be some activities or aspects of your life that really nourish you, but others areas or activities that greatly deplete your energy. If it’s not possible right now to let some of these areas of your life or activities fall away, then it is essential to discover how you can take care of yourself as best as you can in these difficult aspects of your life.
For example, making time to get out for some fresh air or a walk during your work day if you are in a particularly stressful job right now. Or perhaps sharing household or childcare responsibilities more equally with your partner if you are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of day to day life.
Reflect on how you refuel your mind and body
We can often find ourselves in needless and mindless activities that do not serve us in any constructive way.
I invite you all to explore self-care or how you refuel your mind and body, and ask yourself honestly if you are nourishing and caring for yourself in the best way possible right now, and are there some small changes that you could make to lift your energy and mood.
Start small, look at the image included in this article that lists lots of self-care and refuelling ideas. Is there something in your life that you enjoy doing but that you haven’t made time for in a while?
Is there something that you could do for yourself that might not be very appealing but that you know would nourish you? For example reducing the amount of caffeine you have every day.
Discovering how best to refuel your body, mind, and spirit is a skill that will enhance and enrich your entire life. But remember it all starts with you, and the small ways that you respond to the everyday care that you need.