How to define self-care
Self-care is all those steps we take to achieve our own well-being. That is, everything we do to nurture ourselves. And it goes far beyond covering our basic needs, such as food, sleep or daily hygiene.
Whether we are busy with family, work or both, we tend to leave our needs for last. Days often fly by and we don’t have time for anything beyond fulfilling our obligations. But how much time do we spend doing what we really love, what makes us feel complete?.
Evaluate how much time you dedicate to taking care of yourself each week
Please take a few moments to write down a list of the things that you really enjoy doing, that nourish you, that make you connect with yourself, that you would do just for you, not to please others. It can be spending time with friends or family, cultivating a hobby, learning something, reading, being in contact with nature, or just being alone, with yourself, without interruptions….
Now I throw a few questions and invite you to reflect on them:
- How much time do you devote each week to these activities that really bring you happiness?
- Do you ever schedule them, or do they just hang in the air, waiting for time to spare after attending to all your obligations?
- How much time do you spend every day watching TV, looking at social media or browsing online stores?
- On weekends, do you own your time or are you on duty of other people’s leisure? Many of us, especially those with young children, spend a lot of time on the weekend driving them to sports activities, fostering their social relationships (birthdays) and have no time left for ourselves.
Self-care as a mean to nurture ourselves
Have you ever noticed that time flies when you do something out of enjoyment? Hunger, sleep or tiredness take a back seat. The mind is refreshed and becomes clearer, stress vanishes. We feel strengthened, energised, capable of facing anything. Self-care therefore nourishes us: with joy, satisfaction, self-confidence and the willingness to accomplish a lot more.
Therefore, we have to foster it, planning ahead, write it down in our agenda and, of course, carry it out. Doing what you like is not being selfish. It is to nourish yourself with experiences to confront everything else joyfully, with more desire and to give the best of yourself.
Self-care, a relevant factor in the Blue Zones
If you are still in doubt about the role that self-care plays in health, I invite you to listen to this TED talk by Dan Buettner, a journalist who conducted an investigation for National Geographic about the longest-lived communities on the planet, which he called Blue Zones. I leave you the link to the website so that you can investigate this topic that I find fascinating.
What can the inhabitants of places as diverse as the island of Ikaria (Greece), a community of Adventists in California, the island of Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan) or the Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica) have in common? What are the factors that make possible the high longevity of their inhabitants, as well as the low morbidity in their later years of life?
Surprising, isn’t it? The longest-lived communities on the planet have in common a lifestyle characterized by an adequate combination of factors. They eat a plant based diet cooked at home, they do regular moderate exercise, but apart from that, their lives are filled with social and family relationships, fun times and spiritual practice. This are the ingredients of the elixir to live a long life and not spending the last stage of our life suffering from illness.
What practices of the inhabitants of the Blue Zones seem most useful to you? What would you change in your life? Would you like me to help you make the necessary changes to achieve wellbeing?