So much has changed in one year. Who would have thought we’d be where we are today? No one. The lockdown has forced billions of people to deal with the realities of everyday life. Many experienced unexpected curveballs, such as physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and financial challenges. Some are still reeling from the impact of those challenges one year later. We took many things for granted and the pandemic forced us to look introspectively.
We learned to adapt to the daily restrictions we found ourselves facing. We showed resilience, vulnerability, strength, courage, weakness, perseverance, and happiness, sometimes all in one day. The human spirit has proven to be far more adaptable than we have given it credit. Moreover, the lockdown also gave many the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stop and think.
Not only did we start evaluating our daily self-care practices, but we also started extending this concern to others around us, in our immediate circles, communities, and society as a whole. Suddenly, staying alive and mentally and physically well, for ourselves and others, became a top priority for billions around the world.
What is self-care?
Self-care is looking after your inner and outer self. It shows excellent care and concern and makes adjustments to daily activities and learning to make the necessary tweaks to ensure you feel comfortable, healthy, happy, and content. You can’t do that when you’re hitting the road running, day in, day out and spinning multiple challenges, which is what millions were doing before, in the old normal.
Self-care isn’t some woo-woo 21st-century airy-fairy speak either. Being concerned about yourself should be a top priority. Why? Because no one is going to do it for you, not because they don’t care, but because they don’t know what you need. It’s important to make self-care your daily responsibility, especially when you don’t feel like it.
To thrive, you must look after yourself well, internally and externally. Why? Because it impacts how you think and feel, and determines your choices, the opportunities you choose, and the relationships you build. If you’re too tired or feel overwhelmed and exhausted, you might just be tempted to pass over a new opportunity, or execute a new project, or formulate a new idea just because you didn’t feel like it.
Suppose you’ve been implementing new self-care habits, great. If not, now might be a great time to start making self-care a top priority.
Self-care is not a luxury
You might say that you’re very busy, and finding the extra minutes might be challenging. Self-care doesn’t mean you have to stop living your everyday life or sit on top of the mountain and meditate. Neither does it involve hugging trees or singing kumbaya around a fire – you could if you wanted to, but that’s not the idea.
Self-care can mean anything that works best for you. It could be simple things like looking at your daily routine and identifying habits, tasks, or activities that drain you instead of energising you. Look at your daily morning routine. What is it? How do you wind down at the end of each day? How often do you take breaks throughout your day? How long are those breaks?
Another great time and energy zapper is your online activity. How much time do you spend online via your electronic gadgets? Are you always connected on social media or to your mobile phone? Do you check your mobile phone the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night? Do you feel overwhelmed by the number of app notifications on your phone? Do you respond to emails as they hit your inbox?
These are just some daily things many people do on autopilot. Over time, these things have a habit of zapping your energy levels, keeping you busy for the sake of being active, and if kept unchecked, can build up over time.
Take back control
If you’re bombarded by information overload regularly, it can seep into your thinking and behaviours. For example, if you’re prone to overthinking, it could lead to anxiety, stress, and even depression. It can manifest in the decisions you make and the actions you take. Remember, whatever is on the inside is reflected on the outside.
You’re human, and old habits die hard. However, you have more control than you think. The good news is that you can change your thinking any time and any place. Learn to recognise how you’re regularly doing, maybe every hour to start with, so you can identify the triggers that hijack your time or identify energy zappers.
Self-care is the new hustle
There’s a silver lining in every cloud. Keep recharging during the day because it helps you focus. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Overworked? Stressed? Recharge.
Get the drift? It’s easy to carry on day in, day out without recharging fully at either end of the day. Here are some tips to help you with your daily self-care. These are just some ideas, but you can find whatever works best for you.
- Sit and breathe well for five minutes.
- Watch the words you use because words have power.
- Look at your daily morning and evening routine.
- Go for a walk.
- Be with nature.
- Write your goals.
- Give gratitude.
- Switch off or limit the notifications on social media, so you’re not tuned in to every single one of them.
- Read, write, sing, or paint and do more of whatever you enjoy doing.
- Do nothing for 10 minutes.
Looking after yourself well has suddenly become the new hustle. The pandemic threw unexpected curveballs, and staying healthy, well, and safe has become the significant number one priority for billions worldwide. We’ve seen the extent that some people have gone to overhauling their lifestyle with great zeal. We’ve also seen people change and adapt to the new normal we now find ourselves dealing with.
Pervin Shaikh is a London-based executive coach with over 10 years of experience managing clients based in FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies.