When caring for others, self-care takes a backseat for women. It could be due to lack of awareness, misinformation, or preoccupation. Happiest Health clears the air about self-care and urges women to “take care of yourself as you are important too.”
WHO defines self-care as a preventive, regulatory coping mechanism, “with or without the support of a health worker” and every individual is an “active agent in managing their own health.”
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Self-care for women is doable
Self-care is doable and should be done consciously. Dina Lobo, certified Trauma Specialist and women’s coach from Saskatchewan, Canada describes, “Honouring your needs, desires and taking responsibility for them is self-care.” She explains, “It is important to prioritise and connect with yourself at a deeper level. It can include a relaxing bath, dancing with your partner or sipping coffee by the garden.”
According to Dr. Alisha Reed, wellness expert and pharmacist from New Orleans, LA, the three most common reasons why women do not practise self-care are: time, money and remorse after indulging in self-care.
Dr Reed clarifies, “It is not just spa days and bubble baths. It is not selfish. It is not a luxury to be earned. It’s a lifestyle.” Speaking of her own self-care journey, she says it started after childbirth. “Despite challenges, I knew I needed to practise self-care to be the best mom,” she says. Since 2019, she has been creating awareness about the need for self-care through social media. Self-care is a fundamental right. Dr Reed says, “A woman must do whatever she needs to feel like herself again, as that’s the key to happiness.”
For Reshma Jacob (28), a university professor from Bengaluru, time is a major hurdle for self-care due to her job. Yet, she ensures she spends 15 mins surfing social media, talking to her parents or watching a movie with her partner over the weekend. “This, for me, is self-care,” she says.
Start your self-care now
It’s never too late to start. “Self-care was not a priority until my 40s and I always blamed lack of time,” says Swathi Prabhu (44), a working woman and mother of two from Lynchburg, Virginia to Happiest Health. Eventually she realised that taking good care of herself meant taking better care of family. “I take good care of my physical, emotional and mental well-being. This makes me happy, positive and cheerful,” she adds.
Sushma Bhat (42), Sr Vice President at Provab Technosoft, Bengaluru recalls, “Age challenges one’s physical and emotional health. I consciously started self-care due to the back pain I developed after my first childbirth. Being 36, I wanted to take better care of myself.” Based on her doctor’s advice, she started yoga and meditation which healed her physical pain and gave her a sense of contentment and calmness. “Since then, I spend an hour every day on my self-care routine.”
Tips for self-care
Mindful self-care includes physical exercises, social interactions or leisure activities or alone time too.
Love thy self
“Self-love is the first step to self-care. Love yourself the way you are without any guilt, shame, resentment,” says Lobo. She adds, “care for yourself with regular, small, easy and actionable steps.”
Sleep to re-energize
Sleep is an important part of self-care. Prabhu says she aims for at least 7 hours of sleep everyday. The Centre for disease control and prevention suggests more than 7 hours of sleep per night for adults to avoid chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity and depression.
You are what you eat
Healthy eating and hydration are essential. Prabhu says, “When I started focusing on myself, I started eating healthy and ensured my body is well hydrated. Regular detox and eating home-cooked food keeps me happy.”
Stretching to stay fit
According to The Lancet Public Health , fewer women engage in physical activity compared to men due to their primary role in childcare and housekeeping. Bhat says that one hour of yoga and meditation helps her stay fit physically, emotionally and mentally.
Embrace a hobby
Hobbies can be therapeutic and a self-care technique. For Gayatri Pai (58), a homemaker from Mangaluru, gardening is her favourite pastime. “I begin my day tending plants. A new flower, a new shoot and the greenery leaves me cheerful, refreshed and happy,” she shares.
Take care of your mind
Prabhu says, “Along with running, trekking, and other physical exercises, I read, solve puzzles, do random acts of kindness, and write in my gratitude journal.” Writing, reading and any other art form can help us release negative emotions.
Friends can be therapy
Social life adds to self-care. Prabhu regularly takes time out from work and family, to hang out with her friends. “A long walk, an occasional trek or lunch with girlfriends is highly therapeutic for me.” Studies indicate interpersonal connections with family, friends can enrich the quality of our lives through emotional and practical support.
Indulge in personal grooming
A facial, spa or a massage can relieve the body from exhaustion and rejuvenate it.
- Self-care for women is a preventive, regulatory coping mechanism to ensure good health.
- It can be doing physical exercise, spending time with friends or personal grooming.
Absolutely loved working with you @Deepali! Loved providing value to your lovely community!
Thank you so much for the valuable feedback!
It’s a reminder for me
Deepali, Very beautiful and well written article ! Much needed topic in today’s world . Every women should practice this !
Very good article. Every woman should give special thought to it.
Thanks for the positive response!
Thank you Deepali Mallya for reminding all the home makers to spend some time for ourselves which we rarely think of while fulfilling all the daily needs of the entire family. ?
Thankyou for your valuable feedback. Please do check more of our stories in the women’s wellness section.