Even if you are successful right now, without self-care you cannot hope to sustain your success without sacrificing your health. We rationalize, neglecting ourselves (a.k.a exclude self-care) from our routine saying "there's not enough time" or, "this task is more important." However, the cold truth is, the decisions you take now have a determinative impact on your future health. I'm not just talking about physical health but mental health too. Stress will be a big health consequence for many modern workers. Our bodies have not been prepared for our working lives today - intense stress, sleep deprivation, 24/7 connectivity, and tech exposure all have consequences. We must take it upon ourselves to reduce the negative side-effects, of success, with adequate self-care. If you could see into your future, you would, arguably, make the time now.
What is self-care?
It's anything you need to be happy confident and whole. This means taking note of your needs and not putting external factors ahead of them. It can be as small as brushing your teeth, regularly exercising and as big as, leaving the job or marriage you hate because it's making you desperately unhappy.
Self-care is an investment that pays dividends. The more you show yourself self-care, the brighter your days become; the more energy you have; and the happier you are. The only person keeping you from investing more in yourself is you.
How to practice self-care even if you are super busy
1. Change your mindset
Self-care must be a priority. It must be as important as meeting a deadline and making your family reunion. We can make a million excuses to not do something. For many modern workers, it's the "I have no time excuse." But, we have the same amount of hours in our day as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Beyonce and Amal Clooney. They manage to not look like stress is dominating their lives. They practice self-care. So, if you want to get serious about self-care (or, truthfully, anything else), you’re going to have to do an honest audit of your time. Cut the fat (low-value habits) and build the muscle (prioritize important habits). It's that simple.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Just the process of putting a nutritious meal into your body, instead of a convenient fast option, makes you feel better. You can prepare healthy meals at the weekend to make sure you don't waste time during the week searching for healthy options. Or, if you spend a lot of time in the city, you will be able to find fast, healthy options. Make sure you drink plenty of water and enrich your body with natural ingredients throughout the day. As a rule of thumb, when choosing what to eat "the closer to the ground the better", this means choosing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, over any packaged items. Eating this way can truly transform both your physical and mental health.
3. Find your stress release
This should not be partying or blowing off steam with an entire bottle of wine. This should be about dealing with stress, in a healthy way. It's about taking the path of least destruction to deal with life's hurdles. For me, exercise is my stress release. When I'm running, I get lost in the zone. For up to 15 minutes, I am focused on only one thought, my breathing. It feels magical. Something, I believe is similar to the benefits many feel from meditation. How you choose to deal with stress is ultimately a matter for you. But I can promise that when you find, your "thing", it's life changing and can fix even the worst of days.
4. Spend time with those you love
Don't sacrifice your time with loved ones. This leads to many things but ultimately unhappiness and regret. Your loved ones can boost you in ways, you cannot. They can give you a perspective you don't have and they can make you feel like nothing else matters (including all the stress) when you are with them. So, for the sake of your well-being and for the sake of the people you care about, make a regular routine and take the time to be with your friends and family.
Whatever spending time with the ones you care about most looks like for you, be sure to find a way to consistently fit in into your schedule.
5. Schedule personal time
Make sure you schedule downtime. This can be reading a book, watching a tv-show or simply relaxing just ensure it's anything but working or doing chores. It should be time alone relaxing, catching up on thoughts and feeling at ease.
We all need time to ourselves, it's crucial to our mental health. It doesn't have to be a lot of time, 30 minutes a day can suffice, just make sure its a regular priority for the sake of your self-care.
6. Get enough Zzzzz
Without sleep, you will not be able to function or properly control your emotions.
Sleep deprivation makes you less productive and more likely to burn out. The general recommendation is 7-8 hours per night, however, in reality, some people have found they can function on a little less. So, whatever your bare minimum sleep may be, just ensure you get it, every night.
Listen to your body and give it what it needs. That is the essence of self-care - putting yourself first.