Hands up if you panic when the battery on your smartphone starts to rapidly deplete? Most of us will take action to keep our devices charged up but don’t apply to the same rules to our own reserves.

Self care can often seem like a luxury rather than a priority, especially if you’re very busy and are juggling several different roles in any given day . In reality, it can be the difference between burnout and staying sane and it can also help you to bounce back more quickly when life gets stressful.

Think of self care as a way to keep yourself firing on all cylinders from a physical and emotional perspective. Instead of always putting yourself last, it’s time to get into the habit of focusing on what you need too.

Self care isn’t just about bubble baths and face masks; it can come in many different forms … including setting healthy boundaries that give you permission to say no to things that aren’t going to work well for you. If you’ve always been a people pleaser who struggles to say no, your big self care move may involve weighing up whether something is a good fit for you and politely declining if it isn’t.

Self care is also about protecting your energy. You can’t pour from an empty cup and the same is true for yourself too. If you’re running on empty, it’s a recipe for burnout. When you’re struggling with stress, overwhelm and fatigue, it’s very hard (and sometimes impossible) to give your best in your career, relationships and social life.

What counts as self care?

A few ways that you can practice self care:

  • Making sure that you get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy, well balanced diet and exercise regularly
  • Taking a walk at lunchtime (or whenever best fits your schedule) to clear your mind and release some feel good endorphins
  • Make time to catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while
  • Forgiving yourself for things that have happened in the past
  • Being kinder and more compassionate to yourself, especially with regards to your thought processes
  • Spending a little bit of time every day meditating or being mindful, writing in a journal or doing yoga
  • Setting healthy boundaries that don’t cause you extra stress and feeling able to say no to opportunities that won’t serve you well
  • Keeping your home clutter free and organised
  • Having a digital detox and switching off your phone and other devices for a set period of time
  • Valuing your time and taking steps not to overstretch yourself too much

Spending at least 5 minutes per day doing something that is just for you is an investment in your physical and emotional health. And making it a key part of every day can help it to become an intention that you can stick to in the long term. If you’re not sure you’ll stick to it, book it into your calendar!