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Why You Need to Make Time for Self-Care

You might think it’s impossible to squeeze in any time for yourself, but here’s why taking a few minutes for self-care is so important.

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Self-care has become a buzzword in recent years. It seems that in our culture of working until you drop, taking time to care for yourself is finally starting to get some recognition. Whether you’re a busy professional, or a stay-at-home mom dealing with cranky toddlers, you need to take time to take care of yourself. But really, who has time for one more thing on their list? Here’s why you need to take time to care for yourself, and how you can accomplish just that.

Why self-care?

When you are the last item on your priority list, you probably aren’t seeing the benefits of self-care. Fortunately, pushing yourself up on your to-do list could mean less stress, better health, and a better overall quality of life. Taking time to relax and de-stress can mean an improvement in your mood, brain function, and memory. Relaxation will allow your mind and body to repair itself. You’ll make better decisions. It’ll also help lower the risk of depression, anxiety, hypertension, heart attacks, keep away excess pounds, and boost your immunity.

Related: Reasons Why You Should Meditate

Making time for self-care

If you’re waiting for your schedule to open up so you have some time to indulge in a little self-care, you might be waiting for a while. To be successful with your self-care routine, you have to schedule it like you would anything else in your life. Prioritize yourself. Still don’t feel like you can spare the time? Try these tips:

Break it up. You don’t need to spend several uninterrupted hours per day on yourself. Of course, that would be nice, but it’s not necessary to see the benefits of self-care. Go for a walk in the evening after dinner. Turn off the radio during your commute home so you can think. Read a book that you’ve been wanting to read while you are waiting in the doctor’s office. Squeeze in the moments and your relaxation and self-care will amp up considerably.

Wake up a little earlier. One area that most of us loathe to give up is our sleep. While sleep is important, if you are finding that you are not getting enough “me time,” you may benefit from waking up a few minutes earlier to have a quiet moment to yourself. But don’t short change yourself either! Set an alarm to tell you to go to bed all that much earlier in the evenings.

Make time to exercise. Choose something you enjoy. Part of any self-care routine should be to get your body moving. Just signing up for a spin class at your gym won’t do it either (unless you really love spin classes). Think about what you love and enjoy doing. Then, prioritize that type of exercise.

Ask for help. It’s not easy—but part of taking care of ourselves means recognizing when we can’t do it all. Ask your coworker to take on part of a big project. Hire a babysitter so you can get that massage you’ve been wanting. Splurge on that housekeeper so you can spend your weekends with your family. Do whatever you need to take better care of yourself.

Find time to laugh. Pick up a book that makes you chuckle. Listen to stand-up comedy routines. Spend time with a friend who makes you smile. You’ll feel lighter and brighter for having taken the time to laugh.

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Recharge on a Regular Basis

It is difficult for any of us to give and give without taking time to take care of ourselves. As you prioritize your to-do list, make sure you are at the top of that list. You don’t need to spend hours without end on long spa days or money you don’t have on the latest pedicure. A few minutes here or there can be just as effective. You’ll be better prepared to give more to others once you have first taken care of yourself.

While you’re here, check out our other articles on self-care and mindfulness.  

For information on our medical or dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.

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