Self care is a term that has been used in health care to describe self-initiated actions to stay healthy, prevent disease, and manage long-term illnesses. In the past few years, self care has become a trend as more studies have revealed the importance of “you doing you”, expanding the definition to activities such as travel, pampering, and focusing on emotional and relationship health. On simpler terms however, self-care means listening to your body and meeting its needs.
While this is admittedly simple advice, it’s not always easy to understand in the moment that you might be upset because you’re hungry, or that doing an unpleasant chore. It's important to realize that you’re never going to be consistently happy and you can’t prevent sadness of life from running its course. Self-care is a way to at least strengthen yourself, find some inner core so that you’re ready when life comes at you.
In conjunction with this year's Kartini Day, we are here to give you some tips on how to pay attention to what your body says and care for your well-being, the practical way!
1. Eat the right foods
In this rapid-paced lifestyle, it seems much easier to grab fast food as it saves time and fills your tummy. But is it really the wisest choice for your health?
Your food choices have a direct impact on cognitive performance, so it’s important to choose wisely. High carb foods like pasta release glucose too quickly, making you peak before suddenly crashing. High fat foods make our digestive systems work overtime, reducing oxygen in the brain and sapping our energy.
To avoid poor food choices, plan ahead. Prepare healthy snacks and meals for the week, portioned out in the fridge. Increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables actually impacts engagement and creativity, and takes good care of your overall health.
This will always come up on every list, no matter how much you try to avoid it. While you might not be the type of person who finds solo exercises like running interesting, maybe it’s time to change how you approach exercise. You can always play soccer with a few friends or bike around your neighborhood. Challenging yourself to do something you’ve never done, like rock climbing or skateboarding, can also add up to the jazz and excite your exercising nerve.
3. Go outside
Being indoors is unnatural for our body since it is meant to withstand all the natural things nature has to offer. Too much stale air can actually decrease productivity; take in some sunshine and vitamin D by working from your balcony or the patio of a local café. You have more reasons to make time for fresh air. Start your day with a trip to the coffee shop, or take a brisk mid-day walk.
4. Turn off the phone
We live in a fast-paced digital world, so it makes sense to have your phone with you 24/7. But this habit makes us less present during everyday moments. People expect you to be reachable all the time, but that just means nobody respects your boundaries. Turn off your phone at the dinner table with friends and family. Stay clear of the screen for the first 30 minutes of your morning. It’s all about taking time for yourself and living in the moment.
5. Seek human interaction instead
Loneliness can take a psychological toll, and even contribute to physical health problems. Take a proactive approach to getting face to face time with other humans: work from a coffee shop once a week, join local meetup groups, or kill two birds by finding an exercise buddy.
6. Take care of your workspace
Your workspace is a place where you’ll be spending the majority of your waking hours. Be mindful of how you design the space—it can impact your happiness and make you feel motivated. While decluttering may sound like a tedious task, but a clear space truly brings a clear mind. Keep your workspace and your favourite spot clear as this will put you at ease and help reduce stress. When your surroundings are less busy, it makes it easier to calm down and get work done.
7. Treat yourself for small victories
Set goals, but don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach them. Allow yourself to be rewarded for your hard work, whether it’s a weekend away, or something as simple as your favourite take-out. This habit can work to self-motivate you throughout rough patches of doing work.