Why IS self-care so important?

Article by: The Buxom Babydoll

**** I AM NOT A DOCTOR. There are mental health issues and illnesses which cause depleted motivation and drive and are in NO WAY a figment of the imagination or unreal. These illnesses are very real and professional help should be sought after in these cases. I am in NO WAY a medical professional and cannot give medical advice. If you are feeling you have or have already been diagnosed with a mental or physical illness please consult your physician regarding any new or worse feelings you are having.****

Self-care is a hot topic these days. We see it on our Twitter timeline, in our Facebook groups, and on our Hulu ads. But what is self-care and why is it so important anyways? First, let’s figure out what self-care is. Self-care is defined by Google as: the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health. You may be asking, “But Buxom, don’t we do this already?” and the answer is maybe. We do what we can to keep a roof over our heads and food in the fridge but are we truly taking care of ourselves?

Often we forget about our mental, emotional, and even physical wellbeing as we rush from one thing to another in this fast paced world. Yes we know that slowing down and taking time to just relax is something we *should* do but “I’ll get to that later. I have things that have to be done now,” we tell ourselves. There will always be time later. Later I will learn to meditate. Later I will read that book. Later I will have the time to get a full night’s rest. Later, later, later… but how is this affecting you now? Feeling tired? Rundown? Like you don't want to even get out of bed let alone DO anything? This is common and is often referred to as “burn-out.”

Burn-out happens when we are constantly working towards the “later.” We overwhelm ourselves with tasks and responsibilities so our later-selves can relax. This concept that we have to work ourselves to death so that we can relax in the future has been thrust down our throats by movies, television, and social media. Even our parents have instilled in us the idea that work hard now, so we can rest later. Teachers have us do mountains of homework so we can learn to take the test, then we can relax.

But guess what? There is always something else we “need” to do. Some other task that needs to be completed before the “later” comes. This leads us to feeling like a hamster on a wheel, constantly running towards our future but not getting any closer. So we give up. We sit on the couch and think of all the things we “should” be doing and all the things we have not gotten yet. We sleep so much it becomes a problem and yet, we still feel tired all the time. Why does this happen? We have burnt ourselves out. We did not take the time to take care of ourselves so our bodies and brains decided to take control and force us to stop.

So… what can you do to help alleviate the burn-out? Self-care is the answer you seek. It is time to stop killing ourselves to make the next deadline. But how do you practice self-care? Well, there are many ways you can begin.

The most basic thing you can do for yourself right now is to breathe. That’s right, breathe. Take a deep breath in through the nose and hold for a count of three, then slowly release the breath through your mouth so it makes a soft whooshing noise. Do this five times or as many times as needed. By slowing down and focusing on your breath, you are telling your body that it is time to relax, even if only for a few moments. It will help your brain slow down and take a moment to focus on nothing else but your life giving breath.

Stretching is a great way to help your body feel the love. Take a moment to move your head side to side in a slow but deliberate “no” head shake. Repeat this but do a “yes” motion, looking up and down. This will help stretch those muscles in your neck out. Roll your shoulders back in slow circles to help loosen up the shoulders. A lot of us hold tension in our necks and shoulders, so this is a great way to help release some of that stress. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stretches! Talk to your doctor about whether or not yoga is right for you. Or simply ask what stretches they recommend based on your health history.

Another technique for self-care is finding what you love and practicing it on a more regular basis. Do you just love baths? Does a walk in the park or around the block really help you find joy in your life? Make time to do the things you love, even if they are for a shorter period of time than you want! Want to meditate for an hour but can’t seem to set aside enough time to do so? Start with fifteen minutes and see how that works. Still struggling? Do five minutes. That’s less time than it takes to scroll through Reddit!

Speaking of social media… turning off your phone, or computer, and taking a break from social media is a huge help for your self esteem and wellbeing. “Buxom, NO! I NEED my phone and social!” Hold on a second there buckaroo, I am not saying for good... just for an hour or two. If you really cannot handle being away from your phone or media for that long, start with the golden five minutes and give your brain a break from the onslaught that is technology. This would also be a great time to do that thing you love… you know, the thing you love that we talked about just a moment ago? You’re welcome.

What are your hobbies? Do you have one? Want to learn something new? What better time than now? There is no time like the present so why not watch a video or get a kit online and start that thing you have been meaning to do. Hobbies help us relax and unwind. They are also a great incentive to get work done so we can just focus on something we want to do, for purely selfish reasons. Transitioning from working to doing a hobby helps you to go from something mundane to something fun and gives you a reward or treat for working. Plus, when you are done with whatever project you have created, via your hobby, you have something you can share with others! Whether it is learning to speak French, play guitar, do amazing makeup, crochet an octopus, or sew a dress, you have something to talk about and share with those around you. It helps give you a sense of accomplishment as well.

Feeling relaxed and cared for? I sure hope so. These are just a few great ways to practice self-care. What are some of your favorite things to do that help you feel loved and appreciated by yourself? Leave us a comment! Let us know which of these techniques helped you. We would love to hear from you.

Have a great day, and take care of you!

The Buxom Babydoll

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