Self-Care; A luxury or necessity

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We’re in a time where luxury is perpetuated throughout the biggest communication medium known as social media. Jobs are no longer a means-to-an-end, but rather seen as #lifegoals where everyone makes it a point to take the most visually appealing spaces and work trips masked as getaways. If you haven’t yet posted a picture with the tag #team5am, what are you even doing on Instagram right?! Behind the hype, the drama and likes, are people who are more often than not, exhausted, drained, sleep deprived and sometimes depressed.

The rat race is real, and as if keeping up with adulating is not reason enough for one to faint, our high paced lives that have to be documented on social media have us hanging on by the thread. The sad truth is that no one wants to expose that part of their lives, where they are barely making it through the day or are experiencing personal challenges. If you only go by the façade people put up on Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat etc, you would swear that we are all superheroes.

There has been an uncomfortable incline in mental health cases and illnesses such as chronic depression and anxiety in the 21st century because people live under so much pressure and seemingly no one can relate, an irony I’m yet to understand. We are the most connected we’ve ever been as human beings YET so isolated. There are many reasons as to why things are that way, but one of the prominent issues is that people are so interested in impressing everyone else at the neglect of their own sense of peace. A simple concept, known as ‘Self-Care’ is something overlooked, because people attach it to spa days and expensive getaways.

Self-Care is about holistic wellness where your main focus is making sure that you are operating at your highest and most comfortable space. Self-Care is a reboot of the system which makes sure that your mind, body and soul are all in tune. Contrary to popular beliefs, self-care practices are the most affordable indulges you can ever invest in. It can start with simply allocating a few hours a day to meditate or write in your journal to make sure that you have at least exported onto a piece of paper some of the issues you went through in your day. Here are a few things you can do either daily or periodically, that you can include in your daily routine to make sure that this life does not consume you.

Pray/ Meditate
This will depend on your religious and spiritual preferences, set aside a few minutes a day to pray or meditate in order for you to clear your mind and rejuvenate.

Eat healthily
It’s great to have a sharp mind, but it’s more important to have a healthy body which houses all the essential organs we need in order to perform optimally. Search the internet for healthy eating options that will suit your lifestyle. There are so many online stores that sell meal prepped foods that are delivered to your doorstep, or 5-minute recipes that will help you spend less time in the kitchen but also not compromising your health.

Move your body
This means different things to many people, we are all built differently and our preferences when coming to physical exercise varies. Whether you skip rope for 15 minutes every day or do a 1-hour gym session 5 days a week, it is absolutely paramount that we set a daily goal of keeping our bodies active. There are many benefits to physical activities, too many to mention. Get moving!!!

Sleep
Ariana Huffington of Huffington Post Media Group put it so well, she says “sleep your way to the top”. It is so important for our bodies to get enough daily rest, a few nights of good sleep a week are not good enough, our bodies need nothing less than 7 hours of good sleep a night. This is a gift we all owe ourselves, letting our bodies recoup from everything we did during the day. 7 hours of sleep goes a long way.

Alone Time
A lot of parents struggle with this, and most actually feel guilty when they have to take time out and just be by themselves. This allows you to process your thoughts and emotions and really figure out what the next step is. Go on solo dates or take time out in the house, go to a quiet and read a book or write in your journal. Anything that will afford you time by yourself, do it.

Feed your soul, do something you enjoy
For many, this cannot be done on a daily basis but at least aim to do this weekly. As the saying goes, ‘when you feel good, you do good.’ Take the time to do things that interest you, it can be pursuing a hobby or simply just making time every week to clean out your apartment, if clean environments make you happy. This is an instant mood hike, it will make you feel good about yourself and it will remind you that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes.

American Motivational Speaker and Life Coach Iyanla Vanzant once said, “…when you give to others, to the degree that you sacrifice yourself, you make the other person a thief.” This is based on the fact that when you give yourself, to your job, partner, children, business etc to a point that you compromise yourself, you are actually doing more damage than good.

In 2018 let us make it a point that we invest in ourselves first and take care of ourselves first before we can offer the same to others. Respect yourself enough to invest in YOU! Self-Care is not a luxury, it is a necessary practice that we all need to partake in.

Refilwe Sibiya