What is self-care and why should you take precious time out of your busy schedule for it?
At its most basic level, self-care means mindfully taking care of your needs. It’s about putting yourself first (physically, mentally, and emotionally), so that you can give your 100 percent in varied aspects of your life. It changes from person to person, and can take as little time as a few minutes to a few hours.
You might think that your time could be better spent elsewhere. But think of it this way: there’s a reason why, in times of crisis, aircraft safety instructions remind you to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. “If you are depleted and exhausted emotionally, physically, or mentally, you will have nothing to give anyone else,” say wellness pioneers Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips in their book Self-Care for the Real World.
Time invested on self-care is time well-spent. Think about all the minutes and hours you spend procrastinating or mindlessly scrolling online—and imagine how much better off you’d be if that time was spent on self-care.
With so many forms to choose from, try some of these methods to figure out which ones work best for you.
Hit the gym in your condo, jog around your complex before work, or squeeze in a few laps at the pool as soon as you get home. All are easy to do especially when living in a condo that provides ample amenities for everyday wellness activities.
Regular exercise does wonders for your personal well-being and professional productivity. Author Tom Corley spent five years researching the daily habits of over 200 wealthy individuals for his books Rich Habits and Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. He found that 76 percent of his successful respondents work out for half an hour every day by jogging, biking, walking, or doing other aerobic exercises.
If you find the thought of working out particularly unappealing, think of it as a habit that can (and should) become second nature once you put in the initial effort. Corley writes, “Habits, by their very definition, are persistent routines. When you adopt good habits, they help you grow your skills and knowledge… Each good habit you add to your life has a cumulative effect. [Good habits] are like an investment in your individual success.”
It may sound simplistic and even corny to some. Science, though, proves that being truly thankful has many practical benefits, including personal happiness. According to University of California gratitude researcher and psychology professor Robert Emmons, people who are grateful tend to be healthier, more focused, and more optimistic than others who don’t have a habit of being thankful.
In one study, Emmons writes, “In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Beyond these, being grateful for big and small events in one’s life makes one resilient, improves one’s relationships, and gives one more control over his or her life.”
There’s so much more to meditation than sitting cross-legged for an uncomfortable stretch of time. Meditation is simply “an umbrella term for the many ways to be in a relaxed state of being,” according to the medical research group Mayo Clinic. Meditation practices can include something as simple as quieting your mind as you enjoy your morning coffee, or spending some me-time in your favorite thinking spot. It’s one way to take stock of your overall well-being and pinpoint where you can do better in life. Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe even describes how liberating and transformative it is to stay still and do nothing for 10 straight minutes.
Multiple studies over the years have also brought to light the neurological benefits of meditation. For eight weeks, participants in a 2011 Harvard University study spent an average of 27 minutes every day practicing mindful exercises such as “non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings, and state of mind.” The study found that eight weeks of daily meditation led to “increased gray-matter density” in areas of the brain associated with learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion, and introspection, as well as decreased density in those associated with anxiety and stress. In short, a few minutes of daily meditation is an act of self-care that nourishes and even rebuilds your brain.
As writer Virginia Woolf beautifully put it in her essay A Room of One’s Own, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” There is a simple, delicious joy in learning a new recipe or eating out to nourish yourself with good food.
“Being mindful of what you are eating and how it nourishes your body and soul is a good start to practicing self-care around food,” according to Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. “We’ve learned from experience that it’s not so much about what you’re eating as how you’re eating it. Are you eating from a place of love and nourishment, or out of punishment?” Knowing the benefits of working smart, don’t you think it’s also time to start eating smart?
In her book The Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time, Cheryl Richardson suggests to make a list of things you don’t want to do. She says the list should “make you feel safe, protected, taken care of, and free to be your best self.” Items on your list could be things you’ve stopped doing or no longer want to do; or things that stress you out. For example: “I will stop using my credit card until I’ve paid my outstanding bill in full. I will not volunteer for an organization that I don’t completely believe in.”
Once you know which things you no longer want to tolerate in your life, you will see how many opportunities there are to be happy.
These are but a few examples of self-care, but there are plenty of other options you can explore. The point is to do something for yourself without feeling guilty or selfish, so that you avoid burnouts and feel recharged.
Self-care takes time and initiative, and choosing where you live, for example, can make all the difference. As one of the top real estate developers in the Philippines, Alveo Land provides great opportunities for wellness and recreation with choice amenities in their developments, along with proximity to key locations within the city. With condos for sale in such locations as BGC, Makati, Pasig, Quezon City, Cebu, Davao, Pampanga, Manila, and Laguna, Alveo Land can make your daily self-care journey that much easier. Click here to learn more.