01 Jul The Self-Care Habit: 4 Ways to A Healthy Mind and Body
In case of emergency, among the instructions given by airline personnel is the direction for airline passengers to put on their oxygen masks first before assisting others. One of the storylines of a long-running popular pharmaceutical commercial in Asia was about a mother who made sure to take care of herself.
Both the airline safety instruction and the ad campaign are not egocentric–far from it. Because the underlying message in both instances is this: take good care of yourself and you will be able to take care of others better. When your cup is full, ”it will surely runneth over.” You must develop a self-care habit like you would any other habit or routine. Here are four tips to make sure you get that much-needed TLC for yourself.
The procrastinator’s default is this: “I’ll do it later, there is still time.” But “later” comes, and the work gets bumped down further in the day. Then comes the mad scrambling to meet the deadline, usually ending in a buzzer-beater. The rattled worker will breathe a sigh of relief, thinking that they were able to get away with it. But at what cost? Was delaying the work for instant gratification all worth it? With the impending deadline hanging over your head like Damocles’ sword, you can bet your hard-earned dollar that not a minute during the entire time of self-indulgence was fully pleasurable.
Guilt over procrastination nags away at you, making it difficult for you to maintain your mental peace and enjoy the moment. To meet deadlines, you need frequent adrenaline rushes–and these can result in damaged blood vessels and elevated blood pressure. There is also an increased risk of heart attacks or stroke. Stop the self-sabotage. As one classic shoe ad says, “Just Do It.” Your much calmer and happier future self will thank you for it.
Learn to say “no.”
To maintain one’s well-being, one needs to be strategic about where to invest their time, talent, and energy. A make-up artist-friend was once invited to a wedding and was asked to offer her services for free to the bride as a wedding present. She later found herself working on the entire entourage with the unjust compensation of a sore back, numb hands, and worst of all–a resentful heart. She also underestimated the time that she would be spending at the event, and this meant lost income opportunities from other gigs she could have otherwise earned from.
There is nothing wrong with doing favors for friends. But indiscriminately giving away free services for skills that you invested hard-earned money and time for and from which you earn your living is another story. Being able to say no (when you should) means that you are saying yes to taking better care of yourself and developing a self-care habit in your career, too.
Respect your time off from work.
You’re finally on that trip that you have been planning for a while now. The minute you disembark from the plane, your email notifications just go off. We get it. You are a valued employee. But even if you have been the Employee of the Month awardee for five years in a row, it is unlikely that your two-week leave would signal the downfall of your company.
Remind yourself that things will not fall apart in your absence. Convincing your boss may prove to be another matter. Before you “break loose,” make an appointment with your manager. Respectfully but firmly let them know that you need and want to take this break to rest, prevent burnout, and keep motivated. Prepare a turn-over status sheet for pending tasks with their timelines and temporary owners. Delegate tasks to subordinates or colleagues where you can.
Make the turn-over document as succinct as possible. Since most leaves are scheduled, you can prepare your turn-over well in advance for you to be able to enjoy your vacation guilt-free. Vacations are only as sacred as you decide for them to be.
Enjoy your exercise and dieting journey while developing your self-care habit.
The advice from self-care gurus to exercise and improve your diet is nothing new. Anyone who has ever embarked on a “new me” project knows all too well the hard reality that exercise and dieting are not amiable first-time companions on that journey. But there is hope. If one finds an activity enjoyable enough, it will most likely be repeated. It is therefore critical that one incorporates elements of fun and variety into one’s exercise and dieting programs.
Have like-minded friends join you in group exercise sessions with prizes for the winners of such titles as “Squats Superhero,” “Best in Burpees,” or even “Cap’n Crunches.” Change up your exercise from time to time. Keep it interesting by checking out the latest exercise trends.
This is also true for dieting. Be adventurous with different kinds of health food and health food preparations. A world of nutritious yet palatable possibilities is yours with just a digital click away to help you on your self-care habit journey. Just remember to check in with your doctor before beginning any exercise or dieting program.
About The Author
Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist. She’s authored scientific journals on biotechnology and molecular biology. To take a break from scientific journals, she puts her mind into writing about lifestyle, health, and sustainability. She strongly believes that kindness makes the world go round.