But just because we know it, does that necessarily mean we always give enough priority to looking after our own health and well-being? And if not, why not? Why do so many people seem to find it so difficult to find the time to prioritise themselves and their own self-care?
For some people, putting the needs of others above their own feels like a natural and even instinctive thing to do. Being asked to change this way of thinking and put yourself first can feel like an almost impossible task for these individuals. Yet the truth is, we all have a right to be healthy and happy, independent of what is happening around us. It isn’t selfish to focus on our own needs, in fact, it’s an essential habit to develop over time, and one that some people need some help to acquire.
As well as thinking about ourselves, it is worth remembering that our own happiness, health and well-being is directly linked to the happiness and well-being of those we care about. It may seem somewhat cliched to say that happiness is contagious, but in fact, many recent scientific research papers report essentially this: that a person’s mental well-being affects not only themselves, but also those around them. This is not only true in relation to loved ones, but also in a work context, where mental health of individual employees has been shown to directly impact upon other factors, including team and organisational productivity. So even if we may feel a sense of guilt or as though we are being selfish by setting aside our time to focus on our own happiness, the fact is that we can benefit not only ourselves but also those around us by making sure we focus on our own self care.
There is no time like the present. You don’t need to wait until you feel exhausted or highly stressed and burnt out: allow yourself to look after yourself, right now. Don’t think that this is something you will do once your jobs are sorted; once you’ve checked that everyone around you is okay; once you’ve had time to plan and think about the best course of action. You’ve taken the time to read this, so once you finish reading, try to allow yourself some ‘me time.’ Then try to do this every day – small steps are fine, but make sure that there is a moment every day for you to set aside time for yourself, to do whatever it is you want to do.
Knowing and accepting the information in this resource is not always the challenging part. For a lot of people, the difficulty is knowing what to do to help enhance our well-being. There are no shortage of suggestions out there, but we are all individuals with our own unique challenges, pressures, goals and desires. No two people will experience the exact same benefits from the same activities. We might find it easy to find one or two enjoyable or helpful things to do, but over time we may want to introduce more variety or to ensure we are growing and moving forwards to enhance our health and well-being to a more optimum level.
You matter, you are important, and you deserve to do something just for you.
And there is no better time to start than right now…