Nov 20 2017
When your automated to-do lists are pinging reminders of overdue tasks to your phone every five minutes, your boss is demanding reports and the client you're dealing with keeps changing deadlines, the last thing you do is take a step back to consider your well-being. Instead, we skip lunch, stop going to the gym, and forget all about our friends in the hope that, somehow, we’ll free up just enough time to make room for our seemingly never-ending workload.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. In today’s modern society, we’re constantly pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion before resting and recovering. We’ve become part of a warped reality, which believes and therefore teaches that the more you sacrifice in life, the more you’ll get out of life. In doing so, we’ve forgotten one crucial thing and that is our humanity.
Surrounded by technology, with almost all of us fearful that a computer will someday snatch up our jobs, it’s no wonder this has what it has come to: a frantic race to “level up”… to robots?! To “beat the algorithms”, and each other in the process? But what happens when we reach our peak? Can we maintain our robotic approach… forever? Do we have to skip lunch every day, just to get ahead?
The truth is more obvious than we like to make it. We ignore our intuition because, pretty much since birth, we’ve been told to fight against it – “be practical!”, “be productive”, “just do it!” We are nowhere near as often told to listen to our bodies, take some time out for ourselves, and simply relax. And when we are, it’s followed by an action plan – because you only stop doing and start being so that you can go again, right?
WRONG. The whole point in this article is to get you to question if you take enough time out for yourself, and more importantly, whether or not you do it for the right reasons. Self-care shouldn’t be a chore you undertake because you feel you ‘ought’ to, or a ‘technique’ you force in order to squeeze more life from yourself. It should simply be small acts of kindness, done out of love for ourselves, on a regular basis.
Below we’ve listed 3 simple steps you must take to ensure you’re able to employ self-care in a way that is authentic and effective for you. Keep in mind that it is not what you choose to do in your spare time that matters, but how you feel during it.
3 Practical Things You Must Do to Look After You
It seems to be some kind of secret that self-care actually helps you to progress faster in all aspects of life. Only when we hit rock bottom do we realize just how deeply we’ve been dishonoring our true needs. Follow these steps if you fear you’re on this common path of self-destruction:
Step 1. Accept That You Are Human
If you believe you can continue on as you are, without honoring your needs for self-care, then you haven’t yet accepted that you are human. In order to function, humans must eat and rest regularly. We must drink, exercise, socialize and sleep. We make mistakes, have emotions, and can’t always operate at a persistent pace. Attempting to avoid the human aspect of self is incredibly dangerous – arguably the BEST way to trigger overload burnout and without a doubt the cause of many serious mental health issues. The moment you realize that you are striving towards the impossibility of perfection is the same moment you’ll feel free.
Step 2. Protect Your Schedule
When we see free slots in our schedule, we look to fill them… “Finally, a chance to get on top of things!” Even when we’re fully booked, we find extra hours to cater to others before stealing a moment for ourselves. Though daily chores do need doing and work deadlines won’t meet themselves, there are times when you need to protect your schedule and be a little stricter in saying no. That’s right – we said it, now get used to it – N-O! We get that it can be really tough to tell an ex-colleague you don’t have the time to help with a side-project or turn down a friend of a friend’s party invite, but it’s far better than over-promising and/or running yourself into the ground. Be honest and remember – you’re human! We simply cannot do it all. We must rest regularly!
Step 3. Spend Your Time (and Money) on Things That Matter TO YOU
Though a career can be rewarding and being busy can feel good, there’s something to be said for the illusion of progress. When we work a lot, we feel like we’ve achieved a lot – but this isn’t necessarily the case. Hitting a target doesn’t counteract the damage and deprivation we may have caused ourselves in the process of reaching it. We must find a balance – working just to work, no matter how important it may seem, is never going to enrich your life. Working so that you have the money to do things that matter to you (with people that matter to you) is a far healthier approach. Book a holiday to the destination you’ve dreamed of since a kid, take up that Yoga class you talked yourself out of and treat yourself to some luxury bath bombs for the perfect pamper night in! Make your goals about you.
As well as preventing overload burnout and reducing the negative effects of stress, self-care can help you to refocus and put things into perspective. We hope that this article has helped ease you into what can sometimes seem like an impossible process alongside our hectic everyday lives. If you enjoyed the read, feel free to let us know by tweeting your thoughts to @Pure_Sanctum or passing it onto your friends using the buttons below.