“Self care” seems to be categorized as a buzzword lately when really it should be recognized as one of our basic needs like food, water, shelter, and/or sleep. Self care is not just for those with the time or resources to incorporate it into their lives, but a necessity to rejuvenate, restore, and revive ourselves. Often times people say they do not have time for self care because they may feel guilty or selfish for taking that time for themselves. If a person does not take care of themselves, however, they will not be capable of taking care of others! Rethink self care by relating it to the oxygen mask on a plane. Flight attendants remind us to put our own oxygen mask on first before assisting others. Self care such as fitness is the oxygen mask of our lives.
Fitness can refer to being both physically fit as well as mentally fit. The mind-body connection is a very real thing; one’s mental health can affect their physical health and vice versa. This is why instructors often hear from members that class is like therapy to them. They could be in the “worst mood” when they arrive and leave class feeling uplifted, lighter, and less stressed. By exercising, one can improve their overall mental well-being = SELF CARE.
Healthstatus.com states “People who are physically fit are also healthier, are able to maintain their most optimum weight, and are also not prone to cardiac and other health problems. In order to maintain a relaxed state of mind, a person should be physically active. A person who is fit both physically and mentally is strong enough to face the ups and downs of life, and is not affected by drastic changes if they take place.” Fitness can not only be a lifestyle choice, but it can also be a coping skill with life’s difficulties.
There are functional and dysfunctional coping skills that people employ. Self deprecating skills might include smoking, overeating or unhealthy eating, using an overwhelming schedule as distraction, and/or not sleeping to fit more in. Self care (showing oneself care and love) might include fitness, eating healthy, drinking water, proper sleep hygiene, and a balanced schedule to name a few.
Even though taking an hour to yourself to workout may trigger some guilty feelings or thoughts of selfishness, redirect those thoughts to see the many benefits. It is NOT selfishness by self care that you are showcasing. Without self care, you may not be functioning at your optimal capacity and therefore would be taking yourself away from others! Remember the oxygen mask. Put yours on first, take a deep breath, and then follow your bliss.