The importance of self-care and how to put it into practice
- September 21, 2018
- Rosie Fitzgerald
Looking after yourself should be your top priority. Not only does it make you feel positive about yourself and boost your confidence, it’s also good for your health. Practising self-care can reduce anxiety, stress and depression and ensure we’re living happier lives.
The catch is this: most of us aren’t very good at it. When the going gets tough at work, we tend to neglect ourselves. Even though stressful times are the most important times to take care of ourselves.
We’ve put together some ways to help you practise self-care.
Realise your self-worth
The first step to practising self-care is realising your self-worth. Many of us feel guilty for having fun when we’re not at work, despite the fact that many of us work overtime for no extra pay.
You need to remember that you deserve some “you” time. Try and switch off from work when you’re not there – remember how hard you’ve worked all week, and dedicate your weekends to having some fun.
Weekends are there for a reason: so we can have a break from work and go back feeling energised and motivated for the week ahead.
Use your weekends properly and not only will this improve the quality of your work, more importantly it will improve the quality of your life. Taking a break when you need it will leave you happier and healthier.
When we get really busy at work, we struggle to find time for anything else. Try and make some time each day for some exercise. It’s definitely worth it and there’s ways to fit this round your day. If you’re a morning person, you could opt for a sunrise yoga class. Many gyms and clubs offer after work sessions, and you can even make use of your lunch break. Instead of sitting at your desk, why not go for a light jog or a walk outside?
Keeping your body healthy is a very important way of looking after yourself. Not only will the endorphin release make you feel happier, exercise will also help you feel less agitated at work. And you’ll find all of this will make it easier to concentrate.
Relaxation is also a huge part of self care. It’s important to switch off and not think about anything sometimes – especially work.
One good way of doing this is to try yoga. This will allow you to turn off from your busy day and focus on the self.
Read more yoga benefits here.
Another way to ensure your mind isn’t preoccupied is by reading. Getting lost in a good book will help you forget all of your worries from the office. And you can take it with you on your commute, so you can start to de-stress from the minute you head home.
If you start compromising your social life to focus on work, you’ll probably end up feeling lonely and depressed. Socialising with friends and family is a very important part of our lives. And not maintaining a healthy work-life balance can cause huge problems for us.
Once you start cancelling dates with your friends to focus on work, it can be very easy to get into a bad habit. Before you know it, you can go months without seeing people and all you’ll be doing is working. This will cause you stress, anxiety and feelings of loneliness, none of which is making you healthy.
Remember work isn’t your whole life. Part of taking care of yourself is surrounding yourself with the people you love. Make time for these people and it will make both your lives and their lives better.
Having a quick packet of crisps at your desk and skipping meals because you’re busy isn’t good enough.
If you want to perform well at work, then make sure you’re eating properly. Getting the right vitamins and nutrients can work wonders for your concentration levels. Not to mention you need food for energy.
For some brain boosting food tips, click here.
Have you cancelled your last three hair appointments because of a busy work schedule? Do you go to your office in the same, worn out clothes because you’re too busy to go shopping? Can’t remember the last time you lay in the bath, instead of having a five minute shower so you’re not late for work?
Then you need to stop doing this. Taking time to pamper ourselves is very important. Not only does it help us to relax, it also makes us feel good about ourselves. And if you feel confident about the way you look on the outside, you’ll feel better on the inside as well.
Instead of working over time this week, book yourself in for a haircut. You deserve it and you’ll feel very glad you made the decision.
When work gets busy, don’t stop
When we are overloaded at work, we are likely to cancel all other plans to ensure we get the job done. Don’t do this. Make time for your friends, don’t cancel your exercise class, and ensure you’re making time to eat properly.
Although it’s tempting to clear our diaries when we’re busy at work, try not to do this. In the long term, this can have a negative effect. You’ll burn out a lot quicker if you’re not taking breaks from work. As well as this, you’ll get more easily distracted and your work won’t be of the highest quality if you’re not looking after yourself properly.
When the going gets tough at work, try and work around your other commitments. Don’t just give them up, but remember they’ll help your stress levels and concentration in the long run.
Good luck taking care of yourselves.
Rosie Fitzgerald is a freelance journalist, who studied English Literature and Creative Writing at UEA and has previously been published by The Tab, Babe and The Guardian.
Inspiring Interns is a recruitment agency specialising in all the internships and graduate jobs London has to offer.