by: Jennifer McGregor
It’s not uncommon for modern women to have a lot on their plate -- especially for the growing number of working females who are trying to balance a career with having a personal life. It is easy to get overwhelmed with responsibilities and obligations. Sometimes, a busy schedule gets in the way of taking care of yourself, but letting that happen can actually make things worse. Neglecting self-care has real consequences for your mind, body, and even your professional life. If you don’t prioritize your well-being, it will manifest into bigger problems.
The solution? Fitting self-care into your busy schedule is all about creativity. When you find easy ways to contribute to your overall health, it doesn’t seem like such a time-consuming task.
Here are some of my favorite ideas:
Career-minded women don’t always take advantage of all of the resources they have at their disposal because they aren’t aware of them, don’t trust others to do quality work, or are simply too afraid to call in a lifeline. One of the best things you can do for your self-care is to learn to identify when you’ve got too much on your plate and it’s time to call for backup.
This method of thinking should go into both your work and home life. Do you need more funds to get your business venture to the next level, but can’t afford the investment yourself? Look into one of the dozens of small business loans for women. Do you need an extra hour in the morning to squeeze in a workout before getting to the office? Ask your partner to take a turn getting the kids ready for school a few times a week. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it shows that you know how to maintain a healthy-sized to-do list to keep yourself from getting run down.
Eating well and paying attention to your nutritional needs is a basic aspect of self-care. But eating the right thing isn’t always easy, especially when you lead a busy life. Come up with one or two go-to meals you can turn to whenever you are too tired to even think about what you might want to eat. It can be a produce-filled salad from a restaurant around the corner or a quick throw-together meal you can make without dirtying too many dishes. Just make sure it is simple and made with ingredients like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. Having your go-to meal already picked out eliminates the stress of trying to figure out what you want to eat so you can fuel up.
Fact: Dogs reduce stress.
A second fact: Exercise also reduces stress.
Combine the two things, and you have an anxiety-busting activity that also meets your dog’s needs as much as it meets yours. Sure, multitasking is generally a bad idea. However, there are always exceptions to the rules, and combining dog bonding and exercise is definitely one. Of course, there is nothing wrong with outsourcing a dog walk to a professional when you are swamped at work. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss out on a day, your dog still loves you.
We often neglect our self-care because we lack self-awareness. Taking time out of your busy schedule to check in with yourself and figure out what you need is the key to maintaining your overall well-being. Meditation is the best way to tap into your intuition and really listen to yourself. Some of the most successful people in the world credit meditation as an important tool in their daily routine. Try setting up an area in your home (or even your office) where you can sit in peace and quiet and truly concentrate on your practice.
The average person doesn’t get enough water throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to severe medical complications, including fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. While you may not be able to lug around a gallon of H2O with you, you can increase your hydration by including more water-dense foods into your meals and snacks. Cucumbers, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, and watermelon are all great examples of foods that help with hydration.
The modern working woman has it all -- everything but enough time, that is. It can be difficult to take care of yourself with a busy schedule, but neglecting self-care can end up causing major problems down the road. Be creative with your self-care to establish fun and easy ways to stay healthy. Having a go-to meal for crazy days can cut down on stress. Combining your responsibilities as a dog owner with exercise is an exception to the no-multitasking rule. Take time to meditate as a way to increase self-awareness. Finally, stay hydrated and healthy by incorporating water-rich foods into your meals.
Jennifer McGregor is a pre-med student, who loves providing reliable health and medical resources. She knows how difficult it can be to sift through health info on the web, and wants to change that. Jennifer created Public Health Library to help people find reputable information on health topics.