Are you taking enough time out to look after yourself? So many of us pride ourselves in how busy we are and how many things we have ticked off our job list but to what expense? It is especially challenging when things are really busy and you are feeling overwhelmed but this is the time that your own, basic needs should come first.

If you are neglecting your basic needs such as sleep, down time, food and exercise you will be putting your body under stress which in turn will affect your mood and your efficiency and productivity and stop you from enjoying life fully and achieving the things you want to.

Self-care is an investment in yourself
Self-care really isn’t a luxury. It is all about maintaining your body and soul and allowing yourself to re-charge properly.

Caring for yourself is the best thing you can do for your loved ones.
If you find the idea of putting yourself and your needs first uncomfortable, consider how much happier and healthier you will feel if you are well maintained. This in turn will enable you to engage with and support those around you.

What does self-care mean to you?
If you were really looking after yourself, what would you include in your personalised ‘self-care programme’? Think about different aspects such as sleep, diet, exercise, family time, meditation etc. that all add up to you putting your needs first. Take some time to consider them and describe them or draw them to give you an outline or goal to work towards.

Commit to what works for you
As with everything, when it comes to looking after yourself there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer. There is no point comparing yourself to others, instead decide what suits you and your lifestyle and make a commitment to yourself.

Even if you choose to incorporate one or two small things into your personal self-help programme, they will add up to helping you feel happy and healthy and as you start to form new habits, you can always add to them later.

Some people thrive on going to the gym or running miles, for others it is a more, gentle affair such as a walk in the park or pottering in the garden. For me it’s walking Bella (my dog) or doing jobs around the house and garden.

Super smoothies and detox diets are often promoted as being amazing for your health but I know for me, that just wouldn’t work – I’m far too fond of my morning coffee! So instead, I work out what I could make work such as only having chocolate at the weekend.

Good quality sleep is important and I like to get a good eight hours when possible. As I see myself as a morning person, I like to be up at 7.00am so I know I need to be heading in the general direction of my bed by around 10.30pm to take into consideration any side tracks along the way. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but in general, I know that’s where I feel at my best.

Go through your list of goals and decide what you can do that are appropriate for you. By choosing the right things that suit you, you are much more likely to do them and enjoy the benefits of looking after yourself brilliantly.

Let us know in the comment below what you include in your self-care routine.