Self care for women- a necessity not a luxury!
Growing up majority of women witness the concept of, ‘strong woman’, in their mothers, grandmothers, or aunts. This strong woman apparently is a super woman, who is bestowed with the energy and ability to do everything by herself, without getting tired. Even if exhausted to the core, rest in ‘not’ something that she is entitled to. Oh, yes, the only time she has a privilege of taking a break, is if she is ‘unwell’. Witnessing this, over generations, women became a pro at neglecting themselves, while caring for everyone else. She played every role amazingly well, except that of being a care giver for herself too.
In many cultures and societies, if women attempted to take care of themselves, specially by placing themselves first, they are put through shame and had to under go ‘character assassination’. Gradually things began to shift, some women realised that this draining process of being care giver all the time, is taking away their essence, and they began a journey of self-care. Those who didn’t understand it, began accusing women of being selfish, mean and self-centered. On the other hand, some women who wanted to do the same, but were fearful of, ‘what people will say’, stood on the crossroads for rest of their life.
Here, let us begin by breaking down myths about self care:
Self-care is a selfish act. It is in fact a symbol of responsibility towards self. One must look after themselves, before they can do something for others.
1) Self-care is a luxury. The notion, that ‘self care is for elite only,’ is a problematic one. This makes self-care almost like a star in the sky, for women who do not belong to elite class or higher socio-economic status.
2) Self-care is a waste of time. No one can stay hail and hearty without investing in it. Waste of time is not looking after oneself, and lacking on one’s physical and emotional health, rather neglecting oneself.
3) It is very time consuming. Self-care is a part of one’s lifestyle. It doesn’t require anything extraordinary.
Let us educate ourselves about, what does self care mean?
Self-care is any activity aimed towards contributing to one’s overall wellness. Self-care impacts and attends to our, emotional, mental, physical, and cognitive health & wellness. Self-care is a holistic concept aimed towards catering to the well-being of one’s mind, body and soul. Women tend to go through way more physiological and hormonal changes in their life than men. Working on this notion, it is evident that women must need more time to rejuvenate and recoup.
What does self-care look like?
It is not a rocket science. Self-care is any small activity, or practice, that makes a person feel good or relaxed, aiming to enhance wellness. Some ideas for self-care are shared below. This is not an exhaustive list:
Engaging in regular physical exercise.
Our physical body needs attention. Engaging in as little as 5 minutes of focused physical exercise can make a huge difference in long-term.
Eating to feel good.
Most of the time food is associated as being a necessity. Yet it is a fact, that some kinds of food serve our emotional needs. Sometimes craving for a specific food, during specific time must be entertained. This is the reason, why women in pregnancy are encouraged to eat healthy, yet eat what they feel like eating. It is important to feed our emotional taste buds too.
When your mind is racing with thoughts, and you have too many things to think about, you need a cognitive break. Just taking about 1 minutes, to leave everything, simply close your eyes, and combine it with deep breathing can do wonders.
Listening to music:
Music is said to feed our soul. It is known for its therapeutic nature. Taking time to listen some music when you feel tired, exhausted, or still fresh, can help you de-stress.
Listening to your body:
This is the most important thing in self-care practice. Listen to your body. It tells you when you need a break. Problem is that we believe ourselves to smarter than our body. Don’t make this mistake, if you have been making this mistake, then please stop. When your body tells you to rests, you must. This is a very simple, yet significant part of self-care.
Women in general tend to prioritize everything and everybody over them. Make a very conscious effort to socialize. Connect with your friends, colleagues and relatives. If one can’t connect with friends and socialize in this era of technology, it is not clear, then when? Even connecting with one friend a day, will help you with self-care.
Sound so simple, yet most women will secretly agree on the fact, that how much they tend to neglect their meals. Eating a well-balanced diet and not skipping meals is of prime importance.
We all are well aware that human body carry 45% to 60% of water. This indicates that water is a big component of human body and its needs. It is generally recommended that one should consume anything between 2.5 liters to 4 liters of water. Just taking put that 1 minute to consciously drink a glass of water can make a lot of difference to overall wellness.
Yes, it is of utmost significance to take time to dress up on regular basis. Don’t confuse it with dressing for a party. Simply, wearing cloths that make you feel good, and combing your hair neat, can make a difference to wellness that is beyond imagination.
Surround yourself with positivity and say bye to toxicity:
It sounds a bit complex, but simply being around people with positive attitude can improve your wellness. Letting go of people who bring negativity or toxicity to your life, will surely improve your wellness.
SO dear women, pick and choose what works for you. You don’t have to put everything mentioned here in practice. Try what you believe might work for you, and see. If something doesn’t feel right, the put it away and try something else. You can create your own self-care techniques too. Point is your wellness. 🙂
Founder of Talk Heals Psychotherapy