Do you consciously make time for yourself? We all know how easy it can be to get caught up in the never-ending to-do lists and demands of daily life, but neglecting our self-care can have big consequences. And I’m here to remind you to slow down, take a breath, and focus on yourself for a change.
So, what exactly is self-care, and why is it so important? Well, at its core, the meaning is in the word itself: self-care is about intentionally taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s about recognizing our individual needs and taking proactive steps toward improving our well-being. Most importantly, self-care must include cultivating kindness towards ourselves, even in the face of our shortcomings. And let’s be honest, with all the stress and chaos in the world these days, we could all use a little more of it in our daily lives.
Now, you might be thinking, “Well, this all sounds great, but who has time for it?”. And that’s where technology can come in handy. From meditation apps to fitness trackers, there are countless tools and resources available to help us out. But it’s important to remember that technology is just one piece of the puzzle. Finding a healthy balance between our online and offline activities is key to truly taking care of ourselves.
UTILIZING TECHNOLOGY FOR SELF-CARE
As I noted in my previous blog, technology is a double-edged sword. It’s not uncommon to hear that technology is a source of stress and anxiety. But what if I told you that it could also be a powerful tool for self-care? When used intentionally and mindfully, technology can help us manage our health and well-being.
Meditation and Mindfulness Apps, such as Headspace or Bose Sleep (with Bose Sleep Buds), can guide you through meditation and relaxation exercises, and help you cultivate a sense of stillness and calm.
Journaling apps, such as Daylio or Moodfit, can help track moods and emotions, and identify patterns or triggers that affect your mental health.
Sleep apps, such as SleepCycle, monitor your sleep patterns and can show you patterns of behaviors that influence your sleep and well-being.
Wellbeing apps such as MyFitnessPal and Apple Watch collaborate to track physical activity, sleep, and nutrition.
Women's Health apps, like Clue, track menstrual cycles and provide tips and tricks on how to navigate your cycle.
Streaming apps, like Spotify, provide easy access to your favorite tunes and have extensive libraries of podcasts to boost our learning and help us unwind.
Immersive experiences, like Calm accompanied by a VR headset, can provide ultimate relaxation and meditation.
STRIKING A BALANCE: ONLINE AND OFFLINE
And while the ease of technology can provide an easy time-out, it has to be used mindfully and intentionally when cultivating self-care. To achieve a well-rounded approach, you’ve got to integrate offline activities into your daily routine. So, how can we optimize time away from the internet? Here are some tips to get started:
What activities bring you joy? Write them down. These can be anything from having an early night to cooking a nice meal or being in nature
Schedule time for offline self-care activities, to ensure you're taking time to disconnect and be present. Incorporate them into your daily and weekly routines.
Set time limits on your apps. This was recommended to me, and I haven’t looked back. This encourages mindful and intentional use of technology for self-care, rather than succumbing to mindless scrolling.
Find a balance that works for you. Not everyone has the luxury of being disconnected from tech for extended periods of time. But, do try.
Experiment. If you’re unsure which activities work best for you, test them out, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Remember, it’s an iterative process with no right or wrong.
Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential. Research shows that it’s critical to our health, and neglecting it can have serious consequences. And by prioritizing our well-being and incorporating daily practices, we can reap the long-term benefits of improved health. So, let’s make self-care a habit and celebrate International Self-Care Day mindfully.
As Head of Operations at Shadow Factory and with over 15 years of experience in personal development, Louise started Mindful Matters, a blog series that will cover topics related to personal, professional, and organizational growth, emphasizing the importance of mindfulness in our daily lives in a tech-driven world. Louise’s qualifications include Stress Management Consultancy, Neuroencoding, Relational Behavioral Therapy, Nutrition, and Strength and Conditioning. With a plethora of expertise and a passion to create change, Louise offers a holistic approach to personal development, emphasizing the interconnectedness of health and performance.