I’ve been working on the railroad…All the live long day…
Why does the world glorify being a workaholic? Someone please tell me. It’s often seen as admirable to work 80 hours per week. When you surpass the standard 40 hour week, people admire your work ethic. There are people constantly working overtime. People love staying up all night researching or completing paperwork. Or coming into the office on the weekend to get a head start to the week. You’re seen as such a “hard-worker.” The typical 40 hour week isn’t enough these days.
And don’t you dare have a lull in employment! Heaven forbid you took some time off for any reason! Maybe you had to care for a loved one? Maybe you wanted to do some traveling and explore the world? Maybe you just felt like it? Why do we need to rationalize to the employer an acceptable reason for taking time off? We’re forced to divulge our personal secrets just because we weren’t working back to back jobs for 50 years.
Why is working yourself to death commendable while taking breaks is bizarre and atypical? This belief that you must remain in a constant state of productivity has so many negative effects including anxiety, depression, increased hypertension, headaches, stomach issues, reduced happiness, and weaker interpersonal relations.
Despite this workaholic culture, taking the time for self care in order to re-energize yourself is crucial to your mental health and overall well being. Self care is any activity done deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Self care helps to promote better overall health, improves mood, increases self esteem and confidence, and enhances our relationships with others.
Self care is different for everyone because self care is based on your individual needs. There is no one way to conduct self care. It is all about what feels good to you. Self care should be simple, intentional, and authentic. When conducting self care, it doesn’t have to be super fancy or expensive. Self care doesn’t necessarily mean you backpack across Europe or get massages every week. Self care is just participating in activities that make you feel better.
Secondly, self care doesn’t just happen. Self care is a task that you do on purpose. You have to make the time to participate in self care activities. So if you have to add it into your calendar, write it in your planner, or tell someone who will hold you accountable for your actions, it is important that you deliberately make the time to care for yourself.
Self care should also be authentic to yourself and your needs. Don’t do self care activities that don’t reside with you, simply because someone said “this is what self care looks like.” When participating in self care activities, it is important to be aware of the activity you are choosing, why you are doing that specific activity, and how the activity made you feel after you completed it.
So what can I do?
|Physical Strategies||Emotional/Mental Strategies||Spiritual Strategies|
|breathe||have a support system||pray|
|stretch||cut out the negativity||meditate|
|take a walk||journal||practice gratitude|
|physical touch||self reflection||mindfulness|
|exercise||personal awareness||practice forgiveness|
|eat a balanced diet||boundaries||positive self talk|
|adequate sleep||develop hobbies and interests||attend a religious service|
|go outside||strive for balance||affirmations|
|take necessary medications||radical acceptance||healing circles|
Don’t let anyone make you feel less than because you needed to take some time for yourself. Engaging in self care is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health. You are not selfish for needing time to yourself or a break from people and events. Listen to your mind and body when it’s telling you, you need a break. You can take a break and it is more than ok!