Abstract.....Self -care that constitutes the essentiality of feeling whole and that justifies the reason why we need to be indulgent in it. Caught up in stress often leads us to be negligent of practicing self -care. But how do we define self-care, in the first place? It is the conscious choice we make in taking time to be attentive of ourselves, not in a self-centered way but in a manner that ensures our well-being. It is an altruistic act though we are doing it for us, as by ensuring our health and wellness, we restore ourselves to life and the very spirit of living. That in turn uplifts us to be creative when tomorrows come in our lives.
We do not become self-absorbed when we indulge in self-care, rather we heal ourselves inward and then emerge alive outward. It is a mindful practice of paying attention to us so we can escape the burnout. We develop the capacity to feel for ourselves, be compassionate towards us, as in that nurturing, we do nourish the body and soul. The sun of light peeks through and we take the time to lift our eyes to it. It is a powerful moment when we acknowledge deep down our vulnerability, and that its time, we surrender to the fact that the holiest of holy, the sacred soul, the abode inside, needs to be nourished and so we do, paying attention to what needs to be done. Beneath that light, we begin to survive and thrive.
How do we practice self-care, so we can be the better version of ourselves? Self-care implies to know we are at the intrinsic levels, to admit unconditionally our strengths and weaknesses. It is the recognition of the fact of what we are doing and when it exceeds our handling capacity. It then means taking the time to figure the maze and take the necessary steps to slow down.
Self-care constitutes the right amount of sleep which is needed and acknowledges the fact that alongside work, rest is needed too. Are we getting enough sleep or do we warble in our thoughts? Does the mind wear us out? If so, do we acknowledge that as a signal to put it at rest? Do we make a conscious and serious effort to make that happen? As it is so needed for the resting of body and mind.
Self-care implies that we are nourishing the body and mind. We need to be attentive of our diet so the food we gulp provides the energy needed for our smooth functioning. While occupied at work, do we become attentive to take the meals at proper time and along with it, do we allow ourselves to be indulgent in intermittent meals at work? Or do we starve ourselves placing the work as a first priority? This choice is a conscious choice, we make and being mindful of it, we master the art of self-care. Do we integrate healthy foods in our everyday diet, do we plan accordingly, in advance, so we can have adequate nutrition throughout the day. As planning is an integral part of a conscious choice.
Self-care implies to come up with a way, to find new restorative routes, so we can decompress from the morning till night. This again, needs mindful thinking. We ground ourselves in restorative acts and become aware, conscious of every act we perform, acknowledging how we think and feel. What are the steps we take to calm down our chattering mind during and throughout the workday? And what do we do after the workday is over? How do we tune out the noise? If we attempt to integrate mini breaks throughout the day, then it contributes to the refreshment of the body and mind. Performing some stretching exercises or taking a brief walk, allowing ourselves to talk to friends, getting in touch with a loved one, be that a friend or family member, sharing photos that remind of special moments, to gaze at them purposefully, all bring a meaningful place in our lives. Overall, they make a significant contribution towards restoring what gets lost in the pressure of a hectic work schedule. These pauses nourish the brain.
Self-care means to be attentive to transform a challenging work situation. We are aware of our capacity to handle things at our very best. Given our absorbing capacities, what are we doing to destress the stressful work situation, if we find that we carry that stress on an everyday basis. The hours that we work, are they sustainable or unsustainable? That is to be a question, we need to think and rethink. Is there some solution in sight, or is it something that we can approach our supervisor with, as to our working hours, or taking an earlier break? While discussing about these changes, is the supervisor going to be flexible and understanding or is he/she a difficult boss to work with? At times, the supervisor might be completely unaware of what the worker is going through mentally, emotionally and physically. They do not have a grasp of the reality that we live in. an open conversation outlining the stressful things, and the factors that are precipitating a crisis might facilitate an improvement in the working condition. Supervisors are caught up in their own world and an open conversation with them can provide them the valuable insight so they can rethink the process how things can be done in the destressing manner possible.
Self-care can be defined as taking the time to get to know ourselves better. We learn to know ourselves, our potentials and limitations better, the things that make us enraged, furious can be skipped as a vitriolic temper can only add to the our daily challenges. We can make a conscious effort to study our mental perspectives, whether we are the sensitive ones, and get affected easily by the events and episodes of this external world. If we can identify what triggers our temperaments, then we can plan accordingly which can destress us.
Self-care implies identifying the things that give us pleasure and making a conscious choice to integrate them in our daily living. The conscious planning gives us something to look forward to everyday, so daily living can be uncomplicated. E.g. gazing at some artwork after workhours, reading a vibrant story, or having a dinner with a loved one whose company can be animating.
Self-care implies after the day’s work is done, then how are we going to decompress, so we can smoothly transition from work to home. Maybe, listening to some quiet enlivening music, or strolling in the woods to clear the head, or driving in tranquility, or slipping into a serene evening while absorbing the sunset…all these can gradually decompress after the work and can bring out a better version of ourselves as we head home.
Self-care does mean nurturing and nourishing our spiritual selves. It comes in various ways, like praying when we talk to the divine, meditating when we listen to the divine, developing a closeness with nature while stepping into it, being intent on the sky at the break of a dawn or to lift the eyes at the falling of sunset, attending a religious sermon, or reading something inspirational. They all inspire us to be creative and not erosive.
Self-care does definitely mean taking the time out to fall in love with ourselves over and over again, so when tomorrow comes, we can begin again.
Author.....Jayita Bhattacharjee....born in Calcutta, India and later on education from University of Houston in Economics, she had chosen her career as a trustee and teacher. Her Indian residence is in the vicinity of the famous Belurmath. Currently, she is settled in Tampa, Florida. Her books " The Ecstatic Dance of Life", " Sacred Sanctuary", " Light of Consciousness", " Dewdrops of Compassion" " are among the many that she has authored. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6850731.Jayita_Bhattacharjee