Q-Feeling Burned Out, Tired and Depleted?
Self-care is one the most important things you can do to reduce burn out and show up as your most vibrant self.
It is the process of sharpening the ax that can make you more efficient and effective in your work, workouts and relationships.
It can take many forms but essentially could be anything that supports your best physical, mental/emotional and/or spiritual health.
According to research, (yes, there is some recent research on the benefits), self-care is: the ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance in order to achieve, maintain, or promote optimal health and well being1. The fact that there is current literature on this is a good indication that the world is waking up.
The way most of us live at a busier-than-sustainable pace, isn’t working. We are left tired, impatient, dependent on sugar, caffeine and other substances, and feeling defeated at every turn. The goal becomes to “get through the day”. Rise up! You are called to more than that!
Self-care is the key that unlocks the door to slowing down and regaining presence in our own lives. And can you even imagine all the benefits and what your life would look like if slowed down and were better able to enjoy the moment? Priceless.
Another study that looked at self-care specifically for medical professionals such as doctors and nurses, describes self-care as “a proactive, holistic and personalized approach to the promotion of health and well-being through a variety of strategies, in both personal and professional settings to enhance capacity for compassionate care of patients and their families”2. This is just one sector that has been studied where we can see that they do better work when they are doing self-care.
Biochemistry even verifies that self-care is helpful for anti-aging. Telemeres are the caps that are at the end of your chromosomes. Stress promotes aging and aging is associated with shortened telomeres. Self-care activities such as meditation tend to reduce stress and therefore can lengthen telomeres, thus slowing the rate of aging3. For those of you who need to see the evidence (like me), it’s there. This is just one of many studies that verify the value of different forms of self-care.
Science is important. I spend a lot of time each week reviewing research and I love good quality studies that are carried out with integrity. But science isn’t the only factor here…
Think about the last time you did something fun or relaxing, just because. How did you feel? What did it do for your energy? Your mood? Your relationships? Your focus? In both my personal, as well as my clinical experience, it helps everything to improve! This is a valuable factor to consider.
And self-care is not selfish! Quite the opposite. It is a way of refueling so that you are better able to bring your best self to whatever is on your agenda for the day. I firmly believe doing self care can help to make you more efficient in your work, more patient and loving with yourself and your family and better able to make choices that keep you healthy and fit.
Don’t let anything keep you from taking time for yourself…some of these you can do with no money and as little as 1-2 minutes. Everyone has 2 minutes! And there are no rules (other than that it’s actually health promoting). Going golfing can be self-care. You can do self-care with a friend by going for a walk or sipping tea while you laugh about the craziness of life. You just wouldn’t want to do anything that causes harm. For example, sun bathing for 30-60 minutes is a great self-care practice…but laying in the sun all day until your skin is burned would not be considered self-care.
- Take a nap…or you could even upgrade the nap by doing it in a hammock or on the beach
- Sauna- here’s the one that I use/recommend but lots of wellness centers and gyms have them as well
- Cold therapy (bath, shower, stream/lake)- it only takes a few minutes
- Face mask (with mud)
- Coffee enema or colonic
- Epsom salt bath (feel free to add natural bubble bath and essential oils)
- Sunbathing (naked is great if you’re able) …just don’t lay out for more than about 30 minutes per side so you don’t get burned
- Exercise- the kind that you love…hiking, yoga, tai chi, volleyball, swimming, kickboxing, etc.
- Time in nature (hiking or walks in the woods or on the beach, bare feet if possible)
- Read a book
- Deep breathing- this is a great example of a self-care practice that you can do in as little as one minute! Of course you can go longer but if you are tight on time, this can be great to add in.
- Dry skin brushing before you shower
- Do nothing (and don’t feel guilty about it)
- Working/playing in the garden
- Time in nature (walking, hiking, biking, napping, reading, etc)
- Journaling or other writing
- Art…in any form you love…painting, drawing, coloring books
- Healthy hobbies- cooking, gardening, tai chi
But don’t limit yourself to this list. Get creative and do what works for you. What makes you feel great? Again, just choose what you love and what resonates for you and make it a priority. Get something on the schedule for then next few days…if you have a busy week, perhaps you will choose one of the things that only takes a few minutes. That’s a great place to start!
If you feel like stress is getting the best of you, we’d love to support you and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel! Connect with us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin) and feel free to share this blog post with your friends and family who might also need “permission” to rest and recharge!
1. Martínez N, Connelly CD, Pérez A, Calero P. Self-care: A concept analysis. Int J Nurs Sci. 2021. doi:10.1016/j.ijnss.2021.08.007
2. Mills J, Wand T, Fraser JA. Exploring the meaning and practice of self-care among palliative care nurses and doctors: A qualitative study. BMC Palliat Care. 2018. doi:10.1186/s12904-018-0318-0
3. Epel E, Daubenmier J, Moskowitz JT, Folkman S, Blackburn E. Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres. In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. ; 2009. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04414.x
Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a health care practitioner. It is for educational purposes only.