Self-care is simply a culmination of consistent habits that should be seamlessly incorporated into our daily grind. Taking out time for our physical and mental well-being enhances the quality of our life and prevents us from burn-out.
I stepped into the month of June with mixed feelings. While I always await my birthday with absolute enthusiasm, this year am also somehow stuck with a painful memory from Eight years ago. It was a regular working day when I received an unexpected news. A thirty-seven-year-old office colleague had lost his life, leaving behind a two-year-old toddler and a wife who had never stepped out of the house. I didn't know him personally, but the incident shook me to the core. Not only because of his untimely death, but more so because it happened due to over-stress.
My consciousness forced me to make sense of it. To imagine the circumstances that would have led to this magnitude of stress. It also compelled me to ask myself two questions;
● Is stress a purely circumstantial product that can engulf our powerless existence?
● Or is it a state of mind that is perpetuated by our own thoughts?
Today, as I am still trying to wrap my head around this occurrence, I realize, that the latter is not only probable, but also surmountable, and that the young man’s life, in fact, could have been lost in vain.
The American Institute of Stress reports 120,000 people die every year as a direct result of work-related stress.
Add to that the ancillary chronic stress-related health issues and the numbers are appalling. These statistics not only highlight the glaring fissures in our mental and psychological framework that we employ to deal with the world around us, but also bring to the forefront the urgent need for individuals to prioritize self-care over other aspects of life.
Self-care is simply a culmination of consistent habits that should be seamlessly incorporated into our daily grind. Taking out time for our physical and mental well-being enhances the quality of our life and prevents us from burn-out. Only if we take care of ourselves, can we improve the lives of others around us. Procrastinating ‘me time’ to a distant future after retirement will definitely not make sense if one has done irreparable damage to their mind and body due to unhealthy life choices before that.
No person is too busy to take care of himself. Thought leaders and CEOs have attributed their success and mental capabilities to self-care routines. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates takes out one hour every night to read. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sleeps for eight hours a day to feel energized, mentally sharp and make wiser decisions. For Richard Branson, getting good workout every day is non-negotiable. Richard Branson attributes his success to staying active, as it increases his physical and mental efficiency.
While we may not be able to overturn our lives completely to fit in all these ideal practices, I have listed 3 thumb rules that can introduce the right balance of energy and calm in our daily routine.
Follow a 10-10-10 rule to kickstart your day; i.e., 10 minutes for meditation to relax the mind, 10 minutes of yoga or any other physical exercise to feel energetic, and 10 minutes for soul reading. This could be anything that inspires you towards your goals or motivates you to be productive. Or simply something that evokes positivity and gratitude.
This mantra can gradually be extended to one hour by assigning 20 minutes to each activity.
20-20-20 rule is an ideal nourishment for the mind, body and soul at the very beginning of the day.
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Maintaining a gratitude journal is an incredible way to lift your spirits. Dedicate a few minutes of your time before going to bed to list 5 events in the day that went your way. This helps to redirect your mind towards the positive aspects of the day and also helps you sleep better.
It is only when we alter our mindset and think of self-care as a crucial responsibility rather than a luxury that we can change our practices, and consequently, the quality of our life.
Would love to know what is your self-care routine.
Originally published June 15, 2021