I'm going to give you five reasons why you should never neglect a self care routine. Are you busy? I mean, is your life really hectic? Like do you sometimes feel like you're so far behind that you actually think that you're ahead? Do you often find yourself wishing that you had more hours in the day just so you can work on that "things-to-do" list? If your answer is yes, then let me ask you this. Do you neglect self care? Now if you do, you're probably thinking, what is all this foo-foo talk about self care? You think that you don't have time for self care, or you don't have the luxury to do self care. Well, I'm here to offer a counter-argument because self care is not just some luxury. It is essential. Self care is essential, not only to your mental and physical health, but it is also essential for your happiness and believe it or not, for the happiness of those around you.
What is Self Care?
Self care is the act of taking care of your own wellbeing and prioritizing yourself by doing certain restorative activities, which help you to maintain physical and mental health. Self care is not just a luxury. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, self care contributes to 40% of a patient's health. It's necessary.
Now with all of the media and the trending talks about self care, it's gotten kind of distorted. People see #selfcare in front of grand, fancy trips to skiing in the Aspens. Or they might see #selfcare when somebody is popping bottles of champagne. Or they might see a trip to Bali or something really luxurious like a spa trip that is in some exotic place, #selfcare. And that can start to make people think, I can't afford self care, that's too much money. But self care can be something as simple as sitting in the corner of your room and meditating, doing deep breathing for several minutes. And if self care is something that you would like to do in the form of yoga, you don't have to join the fanciest yoga studio. You can simply get on your smartphone, download a yoga video, and you can sit somewhere and the corner of your house with your headscarf on and your old yoga pants. You can do a yoga activity that way, and it is still self care. There are all kinds of attainable ways to do valuable self care. The key is understanding the importance of self care and why you should prioritize yourself. Self care is essential for your health. Self care is not selfish.
Five Reasons You Should Not Neglect A Self Care Routine
1. Neglecting a Self Care Routine Can Make You Sick
It can actually suppress your immune system. When you don't take time for yourself then you can get stress hormones that are on the rise. These stress hormones such as cortisol can actually decrease your antibodies. Now your antibodies are that part of the immune system which will fight germs, it will fight outside bacteria, fight viruses, but if you are stressed out and you're not doing self care, then you may find yourself getting colds more easily, or getting sick. And if you're sick, you most certainly cannot be productive.
2. Neglecting Self Care Can Decrease Productivity
Now I know this may sound counter-intuitive. You think that if you're doing more self care and putting yourself first, then that may mean that you're not doing other things that need to be done. But this is actually the opposite of true because part of self care is learning how to tell people no, it's learning how to say no. Because when you learn how to say no to things that over-extend you, and you learn how to say yes to things that matter in your life and matter to your big goals, then you're able to more efficiently schedule your time to be productive. For example, if you say no to your sister if she asks you to babysit every single weekend, that doesn't mean that you don't think that babysitting her kids is not important. It just means that you don't have the time to extend yourself to do it all the time.
Learn how to say no sometimes to the usher board if they ask you to host the usher board luncheon every single month. This does not mean that you think that the usher board is not important. It just means that you're understanding that self care is making time for the things that are absolutely essential in your life. And other people will figure things out, you'll be surprised.
So learning how to tell people no is an essential part of self care, and yes, if you neglect this self care, you will decrease your productivity. If you're a person who has trouble telling people no, blame it on me. I have a T-shirt, it says, "My doctor told me to tell you no". I say it, and I mean it because you need to promote self care.
3. Neglecting A Self Care Routine Can Shorten Your Life
It can kill you, that's no joke. If you neglect your self care then you are more likely than not going to be very stressed out. When you're stressed out and these high-stress hormones come about, the cortisol, the adrenaline, you may increase your risk of having high blood pressure and heart disease. In fact, 15 million Americans have coronary artery disease, heart disease, and 78 million Americans have high blood pressure. Most certainly these things are killers.
Heart disease is the number one killer. So you must find time to have a self care routine, decrease your stress, and make sure that that blood pressure is down which will decrease your risk for heart attack, strokes, kidney failure. If you neglect self care, it can shorten your life.
4. Neglecting A Self Care Routine Can Make You Unhappy
When you neglect your self care it can make you unhappy and trigger depression. If you are not doing self care, it can actually suppress neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which have been linked to depression. These neurotransmitters have also been linked to the regulation of sleep, energy, and sex drive. So if these things are altered, then surely it can trigger depression.
5. Neglecting Self Care Can Make You Mean
If you're running around saying yes to that person, you're doing things for everyone else, and putting everyone else ahead of yourself, then when you get home at the end of the day, you're exhausted, you have no energy. You have nothing left. At some point, you're going to become resentful, and that can give you a bad attitude. It can make you mean, and really, people are not going to want to be around you. So if for no other reason, do not neglect your self care because it can make you mean and miserable.
How To Practice Self Care
So what are some ways you can start doing self care? If you're not quite ready to fly to Europe or to go on a super grand expensive relaxation vacation, then you can start by just simplifying your schedule. Put things on your things "to-do" list that make sense to you. Tell people no, make sure you do some meditation. Take slow, deep breaths. Keep a gratitude list. Write down things that you're grateful for, about yourself and about others. If you haven't done so already, be sure to get your free copy of 10 Healthy Habits for a Better You and a Better Life. This is my personal checklist on how I do self care, and how I really try to have a healthy and happy life. It works for me, I look at it daily, and I hope you will do the same.