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Self Care - Is it really important or just another Buzz word?

The term self care seems to be everywhere. Magazine articles urge us to take time out, friends talk about treating themselves to a manicure, the must have handbag or that second slice of cake and in the workplace staff wellbeing seems suddenly to be high on the priority list, all in the name of self care.

But what actually is self care and what does it mean?

As the term implies it is about caring for yourself. Essentially it is about the question - what do I need?

It's not about what you should or shouldn't be doing.

There is no right or wrong answer.

Self care is about whatever you need in the moment. For example, this could be having a cup of tea and a sit down for five minutes. Or it could mean going for a long walk. Or watching three episodes of your favourite Netflix show. Or it might be doing absolutely nothing.

Yes, you've read that right.

One thing to bear in mind is that self care is not about putting pressure on yourself. It's not meant to be another item on your to do list.

But how do I know what I need you might ask. For many of us every day life is busy and we're often on the go, which means we don't really pay attention to our own needs.

When is the last time you checked in with yourself and tuned in to how you are feeling? How often during the day do you mutter “I'm fine” when what you're really feeling is exhausted, fed up or anxious?

Self care means taking a step back to check in with yourself. Sure, it's about eating healthily and moving our bodies but it also goes deeper than that. It's about being honest with ourselves and taking the pressure off.

You are important and your needs matter.

By practising self care we are nurturing ourselves and the message you are sending yourself by doing that, is that you are just as important as everyone else around you. This can in turn have a positive knock on effect on your self esteem.

Once you've tuned into your needs, all self care really means is acting on whatever comes up for you. Give yourself permission to have that nap or to go for a coffee with your friend or to switch off from your electronic devices.

So if self care is so important why aren't we doing it then you might ask.

Some of the obstacles to self care are that you might think it is self indulgent or that you are too busy or you might have a tendency to take care of everyone else first. You might think it is too costly and that you cannot afford to practise self care.

Let me put your mind at ease.

Self care doesn't have to cost money.

You cannot look after anyone else if you are exhausted and burnt out.

Is self care indulgent? In a world where competitiveness, being busy and success are highly valued, I would argue self care is necessary.

Self care doesn't have to take a lot of time. It could be five minutes here and there or an hour a week. It can take whatever shape or form works for you. You're in the driving seat. And because of that self care can actually feel quite empowering.

So is self care just another buzz word? Maybe so but if you take anything away from this article, just remember that you are important and that you matter.

Self Care is whatever you make it.

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