If you’re looking for self-care strategies for women to avoid burnout and chronic illness you’ve come to the right place. Self-care involves taking steps to maintain physical, mental and emotional well-being. Taking care of yourself helps you to stay grounded, healthy and at peace with yourself. It’s a necessary, yet sometimes overlooked practice in the hustle and bustle of our fast paced lives.
Everyone should practice self-care. Period. But as women we tend to put ourselves last. The end result is often burnout which can eventually lead to chronic illness. And if you’re already living with a chronic illness, a good self-care regimen can make the difference between struggling through your symptoms and living with minimal to no symptoms.
As a woman, I’ve been there. Burnt out. Suffering from multiple chronic conditions. Eventually I developed an autoimmune disease.
The funny thing is I always thought I took pretty good care of myself. I always ate pretty healthy and maintained a reasonable weight. But there’s so much more to taking good care of yourself as a woman.
That’s why I’m writing these self-care tips for women to avoid burnout so you won’t make the mistakes that I made.
Table of Contents
Why is it important to practice self-care?
The importance of self-care for women cannot be overstated. As women, we pour ourselves out daily and are often pulled in multiple directions simultaneously.
Some of us have young children who we’re raising with all the demands that come with that responsibility. They get sick, they need guidance with homework, and as they grow, with navigating the road to adulthood.
We have families and friends with issues of their own that often impact us greatly. Some of us have elderly parents to tend to. We have job stress and the stress of what’s happening in the world. We have bills to pay and marriages and relationships to tend to. Self-care restores our energy and vitality by revitalizing mind, body and spirit.
What is the goal of self-care?
The goal of self-care is multi-faceted.
- Self-care helps you to become more resilient in the face of stressful circumstances.
- Taking care of yourself helps to prevent burnout and disease and has been attributed to longer life.
- Self-care helps you to replenish your cup. You’ll be better equipped to take care of loved ones.
- Self-care helps to keep our inner compass pointed towards our true north, helping us to stay aligned with what truly matters to us. This contributes to our ultimate happiness.
Are you looking for self-care tips for anxiety and depression? Interested in learning self-care tips for burnout? It starts here, with self-care for your entire self.
Do you want to live a happy, healthy, fulfilling life? These self-care tips and strategies can set you on the right course.
8 Areas of Self-Care – The Wellness Wheel
Self-care for women means taking care of every aspect of ourselves. This means addressing our physical, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, financial, intellectual and occupational needs.
These 8 aspects of ourselves are not siloed. They’re interrelated.
Have you ever felt more irritable when you were physically exhausted or sleep deprived? Have your surroundings ever made you feel depressed? These are just some examples that demonstrate how each dimension is connected to the other.
The Wellness Wheel is a wellness model that represents the 8 interrelated dimensions. Maintaining balance between these 8 dimensions will help you to feel your best.
How to take care of yourself as a woman
The first act of self-care is realizing that you matter. It’s okay to nurture, love and take care of yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish. If you continually pour yourself out to others without replenishing your own resources, there will be nothing left for anyone. Not you, your family, your children or your job.
Tips for Physical Self-Care
Your body is the vehicle that you travel in throughout your life. Like any vehicle, the body needs regular upkeep and maintenance. Self-care physical wellness goals should include getting adequate nutrition, exercise and sleep while taking steps to prevent illness, manage stress, and avoid harmful activities and substances.
Here are some self-care strategies to maintain physical wellness:
- Eat nutritious foods that include a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables.
- Eat 3 balanced meals each day. A balanced meal includes foods from each of the food groups: protein, carbohydrates and vegetables.
- Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop eating when you feel you’ve had enough.
- Stay hydrated all through the day.
- Strive to incorporate some form of movement into each day. Physical activity can be categorized as endurance, strength, flexibility and balance.
- Get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Set an alarm on your phone to start shutting down all electronics 1 hour before bedtime.
- Keep up with well-care appointments including your general practitioner, gynecologist, dentist, ophthalmologist, and any other specialists as needed.
- Take time to relax.
- Practice daily hygiene. Take a shower or bath each day. Brush your teeth twice daily.
Tips for Emotional Self-Care
Emotional self-care goals should be directed at counteracting the effects of stress, developing coping strategies, increasing your sense of self-worth and channeling harmful emotions into healthy outlets. Maintaining a healthy belief system is also important.
Here are some self-care strategies to maintain emotional wellness:
- Journal on a regular basis. Whether a gratitude journal or a personal journal to record your feelings and emotions, writing can bring a sense of release and comfort.
- Recite daily affirmations that confirm your sense of self-worth. Tailor them to whatever you need in that moment, whether confidence, motivation, or just a pick-me-up.
- Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family or your children for help.
- Create a healthy ritual. Find one or more activities that relaxes, strengthens or empowers you and do it daily.
- Call a friend for emotional support.
- Change your inner dialogue. Show more compassion with yourself.
- Clean up your mental house. Let go of any pain and bitterness that you’ve carried through the years.
- It’s okay to seek professional help if you need to. Find someone you’re comfortable with. Be open. Be vulnerable.
- Set healthy boundaries with yourself and others. Don’t allow yourself to veg out on social media when you should be sleeping. Recognize when you’re overextending yourself or when others are encroaching on your time or emotional energy.
- Learn to control your thoughts. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Stand up for yourself. Don’t allow others to devalue you.
- Refuse to live up to others, and even your own unfair expectations.
- Identify the toxic people in your life. Put a safe distance between you and them.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Pamper yourself. Take a warm bath with scented candles. Treat yourself to a massage. Get a manicure.
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Tips for Spiritual Self-Care
Spirituality is a personal experience that can have different meanings for each individual. At its core is the belief that there are personal influences beyond what the eyes can see that are accessible to those who believe. For some it involves a connection to a higher power, as with religion. For others, spirituality involves transcending to a higher state. It’s where you find hope when you’re down, peace when your world is chaotic.
Just as you are unique, self-care for your spiritual self will be unique.
Here are some self-care ideas to maintain spiritual wellness:
- Practice yoga.
- Meditate. If you’re new to meditation, start out with a small duration of time like 5 or 10 minutes.
- Mindful walking combines mindfulness with walking.
- Spend time in nature.
- Attend your local church, mosque, synagogue or other form of organized religion.
- Listen to inspirational music.
- Read inspirational material.
- Practice forgiving anyone who has offended or wronged you in any way, including yourself.
- Pay honor to the ancestors who came before you. Light a candle in their honor or eat their favorite foods.
- Observe family, cultural or religious traditions.
- Practice visualization.
Tips for Social Self-Care
As social beings we all have a need to connect with others. Whether with a close friend, a group of friends, a significant other or family, people in relationships tend to be healthier. Although this may seem counterintuitive, making time to nurture these connections is an act of self-care. Because in a sense your friends, families and loved ones are an extension of you.
Here are some self-care strategies to maintain social wellness:
- Plan a date night with your significant other.
- Invite family and friends out for dinner.
- Spend quality time with your pet.
- Attend a fitness class at your local gym.
- Take up a hobby with one or more friends.
- Perform volunteer work at an organization you feel passionate about.
- Schedule regular telephone calls with a family member.
- Avoid toxic people and relationships.
- Read up on how to improve your communication skills.
- Nurture relationships that make you feel valued and appreciated.
Tips for Environmental Self-Care
Your environment, where you work, sleep and play, affects your mental, emotional and even physical health. A cluttered environment can impact your ability to concentrate, and can lead to anxiety and depression. On the other hand, the right environment can soothe, motivate, and inspire you.
Environmental self-care goals will include activities that help to create a comfortable, peaceful space that reflects your individual tastes.
Here are some environmental self-care examples:
- Make up your bed each morning when you wake up.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes to declutter a room, closet, drawer, etc.
- Keep household surfaces clean, especially in frequently used areas like the kitchen and bathroom.
- Brighten up the room with colorful artwork.
- If you work from home, designate a space to work and avoid mingling work material with personal items.
- Designate an area of your home for meditating, reading or some other peaceful activity.
- Regularly replace filters in your home and automobile.
- Use colors and lighting to create the mood you desire.
- Decorate with pillows, candles and plants to create a cozy atmosphere.
Tips for Financial Self-Care
Your financial health determines how and where you live, the social activities you partake in and your quality of life. Financial wellness or lack thereof can be a major source of security or stress. Financial decisions you make today can ultimately impact your level of comfort both now and in the future.
Self-care strategies for financial wellness will consider short-term and long-term financial goals. A good financial self-care plan will also provide a cushion to cover unexpected expenses that arise from time to time.
Here are some self-care strategies to maintain financial wellness:
- Create a monthly budget.
- Monitor your income and expenses to determine spending patterns and avoid overspending.
- Compare your budget with what you’re actually earning and spending.
- Write a list of short-term and long-term goals. Include dates of when you would like to accomplish these goals.
- Consider using the snowball method to pay off debt. Pay as much money as you can afford on the smallest debt. When that debt is paid off, roll that monthly payment into another bill.
- Open a savings account and pay into that account first before paying your other bills.
- Pretend your savings account doesn’t exist. Don’t pinch off of your savings account when money gets tight.
- Keep 2 checking accounts, one to cover your bills each month and one for discretionary spending on things like groceries, toiletries, and leisure. This will ensure you don’t overspend and incur fees for insufficient funds..
- Open up a retirement account and have it funded automatically from your paycheck.
Tips for Intellectual Self-Care
Your intellectual self controls your ability to think, reason, solve problems, and draw conclusions. It draws on wisdom and insights gained from past experiences and is sharpened by curiosity and a quest for learning new things.
A good intellectual self-care plan will provide opportunities to explore new areas of interest and improve critical thinking skills while avoiding overstimulation.
Here are some intellectual self-care tips:
- Read each day.
- Join a book club so you can discuss and analyze what you’ve read.
- Submerge yourself in a topic you know very little about to increase your understanding.
- Take a class at your local community college.
- Listen to podcasts or watch Youtube videos to learn more about a subject you’re interested in.
- Play trivia games or games that require critical thinking.
- Spend time working on a jigsaw or crossword puzzle.
- Volunteer at work to help with projects or assignments you may be unfamiliar with.
- Become a do-it-yourselfer with small, manageable projects around your home.
- Plan an electronic-free day.
- Nourish your brain. Eat adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fruits and cereal.
Tips for Occupational Self-Care
Years ago while attending a social event I struck up a conversation with a retired gentleman who spoke fondly of his career at a hospital pharmacy. I had outgrown my own career choice by many years and longed to experience the satisfaction he spoke about.
What I was depleted of at the time is occupational wellness, which is the ability to find satisfaction in the work that you perform. Someone who has achieved occupational wellness is comfortable with how they earn their living and the paycheck they bring home. They enjoy a comfortable balance between work life and leisure time.They also feel their work is meaningful.
Occupational self-care strategies should consider your personal learning style. They should help you to feel motivated and challenged each day, not overwhelmed.
Here are some occupational self-care ideas you may want to try out.
- Block time on your work calendar to get organized, set goals or sharpen your skills.
- Analyze your current role at your organization. Summarize your likes and dislikes.
- Determine what you would like to be doing and how you can bridge the gap.
- Try having an honest discussion with your supervisor. Be prepared to discuss strategies for getting to where you would like to be.
- Consider taking courses to increase your skills.
- If you’re dissatisfied with your career and unsure of what you would like to be doing try talking to a career coach.
- Regularly check your company’s job posting.
- Don’t tolerate descrimination or harassment. Talk to Human Resources if you feel you are being treated harshly.
- Sometimes we just outgrow our role and maybe even our organization. Don’t be afraid to polish off your resume and put yourself in the job market.
- Consider joining local clubs or organizations affiliated with your profession.
Summary of Self-Care Tips for Women to Avoid Burnout
Self-care isn’t a one and done type of deal. It’s a continual practice. Self-care isn’t selfish. Taking care of yourself is a way to replenish what you give a way…and what life takes. Remember, in this busy, hustle and bustle of life…YOU MATTER. Try these self-care strategies to help promote physical, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, occupational, and intellectual wellness.