Let’s talk about stress. Cortisol levels. That tight feeling in your chest, the frazzled nerves, the sense that there isn’t enough time in the day to do all the things on your to-list, which let’s be honest is never-ending.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and the tired looking skin to prove it).
All jokes aside, excess stress is so prevalent in our society and has become such a ‘norm’ that many of us don’t even know how to not be stressed. We are glued to our phones and our laptops, hunching over screens at all hours of the day and night - some of us are even taking our screens into the bathroom! While being switched on and plugged in opens up a world of opportunity to us for work, creativity and play, it often comes at a costly price to our mental and physical health; more than we actually think.
We’ve done a study into what stress does to the brain, and were astounded by the results. We are all far more stressed out than we originally thought, and we really need to start implementing some positive change in our day-to-day routine to combat some of this.
So what’s causing us all to be so stressed out?
For the most part, we’ve become pretty good and observant of the everyday stresses within our personal lives - looming work deadlines, kids’ temper tantrums, phones constantly buzzing for our attention, trying to fit a million things into our schedules. You know the drill.
On top of all of that, there’s a daily onslaught of political dispute, pressing environmental issues and having to fight to protect marginalised groups of our society. These are things that aren’t going to go away, but we need to make sure that we don’t let our energy become sapped by things that we don’t have much control over.
That is where self-care comes in. Self care, for us, is about taking an active role in ensuring our personal wellbeing, health and happiness are taken care of. It’s about implementing different activities or tools into our daily lives to ensure we can be the best version of ourselves as much as possible, even in the face of stress.
Here are three reasons why we need to make more time for self-care.
You can’t pour from an empty cup
It may be cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason. We can’t possibly expect to give our time, energy and compassion to helping the world become a balanced and harmonious place, if we have not taken the time to make our own lives more balanced.
We only have a finite amount of energy, and once we have exhausted all that energy of things that cause us stress, we are no use to anyone.
Spending time each day doing things just for yourself is so important, and shouldn’t be viewed as luxury, but rather essential. So what fills your proverbial cup up? It may be taking the time to mindfully drinking your cup of coffee in the morning instead of guzzling it down while doing something else. It may be going for a walk at lunchtime, leaving your phone at home so you can get a breath of fresh air and a little bit of headspace. It might even be winding down in the evening by transforming your bathroom into a little home spa - think bubble bath, carefully taking the time to apply your skincare routine using one of our skin meditations. Whatever makes you feel that sense of ease and replenishment, lean into that.
We want longevity, not short-term change
We live in a world of instant gratification - we receive information instantly, we can order products that can be delivered the same day, we can practically have anything at the touch of a button. This is great, but a lot of us have developed the habit of becoming disheartened when things don’t have immediate results.
A big part of self-care for us is the slow approach. Taking small moments each day to dedicate to your self-care practices may not create miracles overnight, but when we make them a habit, over time we grow to be able to cope better with the stresses thrown our way. One of the best ways to build this habit is to take something you already do each day and adapt it into a way that becomes self-care. For example, if you have a habit of just quickly scrubbing your face clean in twenty seconds flat, think about slowing down the cleansing process, enjoying the mindfulness of the moment.
Be what you wish to see in the world
If we want to see a world less stressed, we need to be the reflection of that. Oftentimes people neglect self-care because they think of it as too indulgent, selfish, time that could be spent dedicated to others etc. But think of it like this - if we show up for ourselves on a regular basis through our self-care rituals, this can inspire others to do the same.
Remember though, don’t let bringing self-care into your life become yet another stress. Take it slow, figure out what makes you happy and peaceful, and take small steps each day. We’re in it for the long run, not the short sprint.