The Meaning of ‘Taking Care’

“You can’t fill from an empty cup”

Them: “Alright, I’ll see you later. Take care!”

Me: “I’ll try!”

There are a lot of tips online about being more productive, and how to make the most of every hour and every day. Whilst I agree with not wasting time and being productive, taking time out for ourselves to recharge is as important.

Here are a few things I have discovered that I wanted to share. I hope this helps.

Stop saying “yes” to everything and say “no”.

Alright. I put my hands up. I am so guilty of this one.

How many times have you decided to cancel some plans just because you’ve been asked to stay behind a few hours at work and help out with something? Or it’s your day off but you agree to go out even when you know you should be relaxing.

You are clearly trying to show that you are that employee who goes the extra mile. You are a friend who has everyone’s back. However, you fear what your manager will think of you if you say no. You fear you might not get promoted, or not be seen as a supportive “fun” friend who says yes to every motive.

You can very quickly become exhausted and drained if you feel like you are constantly taking on responsibilities at the expense of your time for rest or catching up on your social life.

I recently started saying “no” a lot more at work. I noticed that saying yes was benefitting my career to an extent, though I felt miserable finishing late every day. I was not eating or sleeping well, and I had not seen my friends in months.

PC ways of saying “no”.

  • No, because…
  • Unfortunately, I can’t…
  • No, not today.
  • No, I have already made plans I’m afraid.
  • Or just the simple head shake with a smile. A genuine smile… (not the death stare) :l

Try it out and see how you find it. It becomes empowering to really take ownership of, and value “me time”.


Slee(don’t)ping – Rest Up!

This sounds like generic advice. However, there is a reason why many self-help blogs mention the importance of sleep.

When you sleep, your body goes through several sleep cycles. There are approximately 3 stages of sleep. I won’t bore you with the details, but each complete sleep cycle lasts for around 1.5 hours. So with that in mind, you can sort of approximately calculate how long you need to sleep so that you feel refreshed, energetic and not groggy for the rest of the day.

Take the scenario below:

  • You are an adult and need to wake up at 7am for work.
  • So this means you need to sleep for a minimum of 6-9 hours (based on the recommended sleep guidelines for adults).
  • This is around 4-6 (x 1.5hr) sleep cycles.
  • So that means you should be in bed by 12.30am-1am.

Not only will this aid in having a routine (as explained below), but you will feel much more refreshed and ready for the day ahead. You will be less likely to snack which often happens due to poor sleeping routines.


Have a Routine

Whether it’s having similar waking and sleeping hours every day or establishing a good eating schedule, it is really important to have some sort of a routine in your life; something that remains stable. If you like to watch a particular YouTube video from one of your favourite vloggers (The Michalaks for example) * every Sunday then so be it! If you enjoy going to the gym three times a week in the mornings then try to maintain this habit.

Routine helps us to have something that is stable in our now chaotic, commitment-ridden lives as millennials, and also is another way of taking care of yourself.

* – Probably my favourite bloggers on YouTube. Here is one of their best works (16:25 onwards – amazing!)

Develop a Thirst For Knowledge

It is really important to continue to push yourself to engage in activities that put you out of your comfort zone in a comfortable way. For example, take up a personal challenge to learn a different language, or perhaps you want to learn about a particular subject that you used to be really passionate about.

Learning new things creates novelty and spontaneity in your life. It helps you to get out of the usual mundane tasks that you may have and push you to develop skills or learn something new.

“How does this relate to taking care of myself?” You ask. Well, by enhancing your skills reservoir you are inadvertently investing in your future, therefore taking care of yourself.



Be Honest With How You Are Feeling

Let me ask you a question. When you’ve had a tough weekend, on Monday when your work colleague asks you how you are, what do you say?

I’m fine.

I know, how can you say that you did not have a nice weekend? I mean there’s a time and place to express your emotions and work is not really one of them, right?

I know that is a tricky one. In fact, sometimes I just do not feel like I want to tell people that I had a bad weekend. It is just far easier to lie and get on with my day.

But sometimes you do want someone to listen. Sometimes, you do not want to tell a white lie and get on with your day. Sometimes ignoring how we feel does more harm than good.

I mean if a friend told you how they felt about something, would you dismiss it? Would you say, “oh no, I don’t want to discuss this right now.” No, right? Then why it okay for you to dismiss your own feelings in the same way?

It is important to acknowledge how you feel about something, but reassure yourself that this feeling is temporary and that it will move along. However, to really take care of yourself, try to be more transparent with how you feel about things. Don’t neglect your emotional wellbeing, do talk more openly about your feelings.

Eat Well

Everyone feels the energy crash after having junk food or sugary treats. Whilst I am a strong advocate of treating yourself every now and then, I try my best to limit my intake of processed sugar.

Though eating it feels amazing, about 30 minutes later I either crave more or I just want to lie down for a nap. I hate feeling de-energised when I just wanted a quick energy boost.

One thing that has helped me curb my sugar cravings is investing in a smoothie maker. Not only does it encourage you to have more fruit or veg in your diet, but it also makes it so much easy to consume. No chewing involved whatsoever. Just down it and you are good to go! For all those who hate taking supplements, this is a great way to have all the nutrients in the most natural way possible.

Here is a great recipe a friend recommended me:

Green Smoothie

  • A handful of curly kale and baby spinach leaves
  • Half a chopped green apple
  • Half a banana (you can have a full one depending on how sweet you’d like it)
  • Few drops of lemon juice
  • Water/ coconut water/ any dairy milk substitute

You would think it tastes like grass because of the green colour, but you cannot taste the spinach or kale at all. It is just great! Let me know if you try it. You will feel so energised and not crave sugar throughout the day.


Limit The Use of Social Media

FOMO – Fear of Missing Out is a dastardly thing! It can make you feel like you have nothing going on in your life, that everyone else is having the best life and there you are in your PJs on a weekend binge-watching-Netflix-all-day spree.

On average we spend around 27 hours a week on social media. Whether it’s browsing through funny Cheese Challenge meme videos on Instagram, or tapping through the Snapchat stories of your friends, we are all guilty of using social media a bit too much.

Social media can be great, but we really need to set ourselves limits. There is actually the option on YouTube and Instagram to remind you if you have spent a particular number of hours on those sites. Oftentimes, I need to be reminded which is shocking. You can easily sit down to read something, but sooner or later you end up sitting there with your phone in your hands for hours.

Excessive use of social media can often lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.

The art of doing simply nothing is slowly becoming an extinct phenomenon in the fast-paced world we live in. However, we need to be more mindful of our mental health and the things we look at, listen to or interact with.

How many of us watch TV whilst scrolling through your social media feeds? How many of you need to the TV switched on in order to eat through a meal? When you think about it, it is getting harder and harder to focus on one thing at a time. You may feel bored in social gatherings, or be on your phone as a loved one is trying to communicate with you. It has become an addiction.

I hope this post provided some advice on how to take better care of yourself. I hope we are able to become more present and focused on our personal development and be less distracted by things online.

“Keep your feet on the ground when your head is in the clouds” – Paramore

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