In the world we live in today, everyone is in hot pursuit of one thing or another—professional success, better finances, a perfect body, straight A’s…the list goes on. We’re at it from dawn to dusk, day after day, week after week. We tend to lose track of time as we work, study, or train to the best of our abilities. And when rewarded for our hard work, we are motivated to work even harder. Such dedicated efforts are taking us places, indeed. But at what cost? We end up neglecting the most important things in the process: our physical and mental wellbeing.
In pursuit of success, we often forget to take care of our bodies and minds. And when this goes on for longer than we can handle, the bill comes due. Exhaustion and burnout are extremely common among people these days, and often, they can snowball into various physical and mental health disorders. This is what makes it crucial for us to set time aside to nourish and nurture ourselves on a regular basis. According to research, engaging in a self-care routine can reduce or eliminate anxiety, reduce stress, minimise frustration, boost energy, and increase happiness.
What does self-care mean? And why is it so important? Self-care can be anything that we do to look after or prioritise ourselves. It can be an evening of retail therapy, a luxurious bath with essential oils, quality time with family or loved one, or a trip to a quiet hill station to clear one’s head. Fact is, self-care can be any deliberate activity that helps one disengage from one’s routine, unwind and nourish one’s body, mind, and spirit. There are many ways to practise self-care, and what works for one may not work for the other.
For some people, self-care means a fitness regimen. Swathi Suresh, a marketing professional, sets aside an hour every evening for a rejuvenating session of yoga and dance. “My job is really stressful. And in the beginning of my career, I had completely neglected self-care. After a major meltdown a few months ago, I realised I had to invest in myself. That is when I enrolled for a yoga class and made time to dance every day.” Besides keeping her fit, the routine has helped Swathi improve her concentration at work and made her a more positive person, she shares.