We can’t always control what life throws at us. Stressors, like losing someone close to you or being made redundant, can be sudden, unexpected and uncontrollable. However, we are in control of how we respond to these stressors and the impact they have on us.
When stress levels become high, if we are not looking after ourselves we are more likely to be reactive to this stress and act in ways we don’t want to. Sometimes we might turn to alcohol, eat irregular meals lacking in nutrition, stop exercising or withdraw from family and friends. Although these might work in the immediate short-term, they often make our stress worse in the long-term and we enter a negative cycle. Left unmanaged, this cycle can often lead to physical or mental health difficulties and leaves us feeling unfulfilled in our lives.
However, if you invest in yourself, when stressors enter your life you are able to be less reactive and more resilient. Instead of surviving, a regular self-care practice can help you feel you are thriving, allowing you to feel more in control of how you respond to this stress and who you are in the face of this adversity.
These can be flipped in good situations, which optimists generally see as permanent, pervasive and personal and pessimists see as temporary, specific and externally caused.
By looking after yourself, you are more able to have more energy for looking after others, less likely to need to draw on others in a crisis, and more able to be the best version of you for the people around you. Research has found that self-care actually improves people’s relationships with others as you are more likely to have positive interactions with others if you invest in yourself.
However, this can be a challenging concept for people to adjust to. Here are some great analogies to explain the benefits of self-care either to yourself when doubt creeps up, or to others if they are resistant to your self-care.
Remember, there is no set self-care formula that suits everyone. It is important to experiment and discover what works for you.
By looking at self-care holistically, addressing the physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental spheres of our lives, we are able to more effectively look after ourselves, boost our resilience levels, improve out physical and mental health, and thrive in our lives. Remind yourself how looking after you benefits not only you, but all the people around you.
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