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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

May 20, 2022
| Money

The Power of Self-Care

To help you improve the way you look after yourself, so that you can reach your full potential in life, we’ve put together our top 5 self-care tips for you.

This article covers the five major pillars of self-care and how you can achieve them - everything from meditation apps to setting better personal boundaries.

We all want to thrive and achieve our goals in life. But the only way to do so is to take care of ourselves, in all ways. If we don't, who will? 

Taking care of yourself and your primary needs allows you to create solid foundations for which you are able to build upon.

The COVID wave has impacted how many of us have been taking care of ourselves. Many of the things that were related to self-care were impacted; gyms, salons and massage clinics closed their doors, psychology sessions moved online along with your favourite fitness classes and let’s be real, Zumba isn’t quite the same alone in your living room - but we’ll take it! Social interactions beyond those in your household are limited to screen catch-ups or exercise in groups of no more than two. What's more - majority of people are back working from home and some people are out of work altogether. Taking care of ourselves has never been harder.

As a result, many of us find ourselves with a lot of time on our hands that we didn't have before, so why not make good use of it and devote some time to taking care of ourselves? It's powerful - and if you stick to it long enough, you’ll start to see and feel the amazing effects day to day.

To help you improve the way you look after yourself, so that you can reach your full potential in life, we’ve put together our top 5 self-care tips for you.

1 - Take care of your mind

Mindfulness has never been more important than now. This scientifically proven and ancient technique can help manage anxiety, boost your mood, improve your overall happiness and ability to concentrate.

Studies show, for instance, that mindfulness and meditation programs reduce psychological stress. A meta-analysis (a study which combines all the best data) found that meditation can reduce the negative repercussions of mild to moderate psychological stress by around 30 percent. Further studies found that short, simple mindfulness programs lasting just eight weeks could reduce the inflammatory response that stress causes.

Mindfulness may also help to control anxiety - a condition that affects around 18 percent of the population every year. Researchers have found that short two-month mindfulness courses can improve coping ability for patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Combining meditative practices with physical movements (as in yoga), may confer even greater benefits

What’s wonderful about mindfulness is that it gives power back to you. It’s convenient, cheap, and there are hundreds of free apps to help you get started. 

Insight Timer is one of the top-rated mindfulness apps on both the App Store and Play Store. It provides ten or more free guided meditations per day, making it easy for you to turn mindfulness into a daily habit. It also comes with helpful ambient tracks and soothing sounds that calm the mind and help to promote sleep. 

Headspace is another top app that people use to find calmness and wellness. It offers meditations plus nature soundscapes and storytelling. Notably, the app builds a personalized plan based on input you provide. 

For those struggling with anxiety or stress-related sleep issues, Calm is a good choice. This award-winning app provides calming exercises, breathing techniques and voice acting from stars like Matthew McConaughey to help you drift off. 

If meditation isn’t quite your thing, you can also practice mindfulness by pursuing or taking part in activities that keep your mind focused on the task at hand and therefore away from distracting or negative thoughts. Painting, puzzles, exercise and drawing, along with many others, are great examples of activities that have mindfulness at their centre. Why not pick one that interests you and give it a go!

If you are experiencing mental health struggles, it’s always worth seeking professional support and guidance and talking to your GP or other relevant health professionals. There is so much support and help out there. Please know, you are not alone.

2 - Take care of your body

Exercise helps with both mental health and physical health and is essential on all levels. Even a small amount can make a difference. You don’t have to go for a two-hour training session. Just walking for twenty minutes whenever you get the chance is enough to have an effect. 

On the mental health side, physical activity can make you happier. Researchers have found that taking part in occasional and regular exercise reduces feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Strenuous activity actually changes the structure of parts of the brain responsible for stress and anxiety. It makes the mind more receptive to feel-good hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine, reducing feelings of depression. 

Exercise also has a range of impressive physical benefits too. It can: 

- Reduce chronic pain
- Improve your ability to relax and sleep
- Increase your libido
- Improve brain health and memory
- Improve skin health
- Reduce your long-term risk of chronic disease
- Maintain a healthy body weight 
- Increase your overall energy levels

It goes without saying that in addition to exercise, eating a nutritious and balanced diet is paramount to looking after your body and brain functioning.

3 - Take care of your finances

Taking care of your finances is also considered self-care. Financial stress is a major cause for marriage break ups, anxiety and stress. Managing your money, spending wisely and planning your expenses, will reduce stress in your life and ultimately help you feel in control. Building an emergency account for example, will help reduce financial stress if you find yourself in a situation where you need emergency funds. 

If you often get the urge to spend money on things you don’t necessarily need (which can become an issue in lockdowns when we have far less stimulation and are looking for quick wins) we have some tricks that can help:

- Wait 24-48 hours and see if you still want it.

- Work out the time you need to spend working to obtain the item you want. So, for example, if you want to buy a new bag that costs $800, you can convert that into hours that you would need to work. If you earn $25 per hour, that translates to 32 hours of your time, and that’s pre-tax!

- Adjust your spending priorities to reflect your wellbeing priorities. So instead of working to achieve material possessions, like a fancy car, the latest designer clothes and accessories, or even a home that’s significantly larger than what you need, you instead work towards personal freedom.

- There’s a big difference here. When you work for external objects, you’re always hankering after the next thing. This behaviour keeps you trapped in a cycle of work and spending that goes on for the rest of your life.

- But when you work for freedom, you have a different set of priorities. Your main goal is to adjust your life so that you prioritise your state of mind, not your material possessions. So whenever you get the impulse to buy something, you always ask yourself whether it is more important than freedom from money worries. Usually, it isn’t. 

Remember, money isn’t a trivial matter when it comes to your wellbeing. Many of us spend the majority of our lives trying to obtain it. Thus, we need to ensure that we put it to good use and learn how to manage it.

We have amazing articles and resources on managing your finances  that you can check out on our website - get expert advice on improving your money mindset here. If you want to dig deeper, you’ll benefit immensely from the money tools, guides and courses that will help you grow your financial literacy, manage your money and afford choices. Learn more about how to become a member and all that is on offer here.

4 - Take care of your relationships

Taking proper care of the relationships that matter to you and serve you is another powerful way to practice self-care. When you’re in the right relationships, surrounded by the right people you feel safe, heard, happy and ultimately, at your best. When you’re in the wrong relationships, however, things start to go downhill. 

You can improve your self-care by adopting healthy relationship practices, not only with your partner but also with your friends, family and even work colleagues.

Here are some ideas you can try straight away: 

- Look after each other and have empathy, but also take time to care for yourself
- Be realistic about the other person’s capabilities and the ways that they can improve your life (and vice versa). Your own happiness is no-one else’s responsibility but your own.
- Communicate. Don’t leave issues to fester in the background. Pretty much anything can be sorted by having an honest and respectful conversation. 
- Be dependable. Listen when your partner talks to you about their troubles and ask them to do the same for you.
- Take responsibility for mistakes that you made and be honest if you are in the wrong.
- Keep a balanced life - don’t centre everything that you do around your romantic relationship.
- See your relationship as a process. Everyone has flaws so it will never be perfect.
- Be yourself. Trying to hide aspects of your personality is stressful.

5 - Know how to set boundaries

Lastly, it is critical in today’s fast-paced society to learn how to set boundaries. We think that to be successful, we must say “yes” to every opportunity that comes along. But if you study the most successful women, you find that they say “no” far more often. 

The trick is to learn how to say no without feeling guilty - something we cover in detail in this article here. It’s all about respecting yourself and viewing your precious time as important. After all, just like everyone else, you have limited time during the week to enjoy yourself and create fun in your life. You don’t want to spend every hour of the day in service of other people - hat’s a recipe for stress, burnout and resentfulness.

Setting boundaries requires being consistent. Ideally, you should set boundaries early in a relationship. If you don’t work on weekends, don’t tell your boss two years into a job. If you can, create a framework. This way, you can outline the physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional and financial boundaries that you have.  

If you’d like more support from us and our Remarkable community, join our Signature Membership and access hundreds of courses, videos, self-awareness surveys and more, that will empower you to be the best version of yourself.

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