The crux of self-care for women is this: You can’t pour from an empty cup.
So, take care of yourself first.
But self-care is uncharted territory and, often, something with which most women struggle. It’s perceived as selfish or self-indulgent. When you think of self-care, you imagine shopping, a spa day, or indulgences—things that require spare time and money.
That’s not self-care.
So, today, we redefine what it means to take care of yourself and why it is not a selfish act.
What is self-care? It’s a lot of things, but it isn’t selfish!
Self-care for women is finding what they need, both physically and mentally, and then fulfilling those needs to maintain their well-being.
It is not about mediating or taking a midday nap or a couple of hours away from the family. Yes, those count, but they are not the whole of self-care. It can also be spiritual or abstaining from arguing with someone about politics.
Self-care is about creating boundaries, establishing priorities, and taking time to relax and do things that bring joy. So, you can refuel and show up fully for those you love.
The importance of self-care for women: it’s the ultimate act of self-love
Self-care is critical for physical and mental health. When you keep giving of yourselves without re-filling the cup, there comes a time when you start running on empty. You go through the motions without engaging, and that builds resentment, anxiety, and depression, affecting your mental health.
It also creates chronic stress, which plays havoc with physical health by weakening the immune system. From colds to ulcers, from sleep issues to weight gain, from high blood pressure to fatigue, not taking care of yourself has very real physical health problems.
Finding your inner Zen: The benefits of self-care
When you prioritise your own needs and take time to relax and do things that make you happy, you’re better equipped to handle the challenges and stressors of the day. And that ensures mental well-being. When you eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep—all key components of self-care—you’re also physically fit.
A happy, fit you means your children feel nurtured, your partner feels important, your friends feel seen, and your job feels rewarding!
But those are not the only benefits of self-care. It also improves your relationships with others. When you neglect your own needs in favour of others, you experience burnout.
You feel like you’re constantly giving without receiving anything in return, leading to frustration and exhaustion. But when you’re not burnt out (thanks to self-care), you engage in healthy, positive relationships.
So, if you’re a woman who feels “I can’t take out time for self-care because that would mean taking away time from being a mom or a good employee,” then stop.
When you’re depleted, you have nothing left to give: to your kids, to your job, or to anyone else. Self-care is not selfish. It’s an investment that reaps great dividends.
5 self-care routine tips that work for busy women
Let’s get the most important tip for self-care for women out of the way first. Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself. And no matter how uncomfortable it might feel in the beginning, continue prioritising.
It is also important to remember that self-care looks different for everyone. What works for one person may not work for another, and that is okay. Find what works for you, and practise it.
1. Start small
Incorporating self-care into your daily routine can be overwhelming at first, so start small. Take five minutes each day to do something that brings you joy, whether it’s reading a book, listening to music, or taking a walk.
2. Be intentional
Set aside time each day or week for self-care, and be intentional about how you spend that time. Make a list of activities that bring you joy and prioritise them in your schedule.
- A good trick is to create a plan for each day. It not only relieves stress by taking away decision fatigue but also makes it easy to sneak in self-care.
- Use the 8-8-8 approach: 8 hours to work, 8 hours to sleep, and 8 hours for you daily.
- Find the time of day that you’re at your best. Next, allot that time to yourself instead of your job, home, or family. So, if you’re most energetic and productive in the morning, use it to do what you love. That can be spending time with your kids, reading a book, volunteering, painting, or anything else. It’s the ultimate way to self-care for women.
3. Learn to say no
Saying no to commitments that don’t align with your values or priorities is an important aspect of self-care. It can be difficult at first, but learning to say no can help you make time for the things that are truly important to you.
For women who are carers for children, ageing parents, or an ill family member, saying no is not an option. So, how do you find time for self-care?
You make a respite plan by allowing others to contribute. Don’t feel like the burden is on you to do it all! Don’t think, “I’ll do it when I have time next.”
There is never a good time; you have to make it. And you do it by depending on others. Communicate to your family or friends that you need help with care or rely on an app like QurBook that automates much of the caregiving tasks, freeing your time.
4. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Try incorporating them into your daily routine, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day.
5. Take care of your physical health
When you’re overworked, stressed, and leading an unhappy existence, it’s tempting to zone out in front of a screen or binge-eat junk. That is not what self-care for women looks like. Instead, push yourself to exercise and eat healthily.
- Go for a run in the park.
- Walk around the neighbourhood.
- Or just sit on a chair without a phone.
- Do gardening or walk barefoot on grass or sand.
- Go to sleep early if you’re too tired for the day.