Events at home and abroad have taken their toll on New Zealanders over the past few years and after a summer of devastation for large parts of the country, carving out a little “me time” is as important as ever.
Dr Stephen Child, Chief Medical Officer of Southern Cross Health Insurance, says self-care is a cornerstone of wellbeing and shouldn’t be confused with self-indulgence.
“Self-care is about taking care of yourself, so you’re better able to cope with the stresses that modern life can bring,” he says.
“This is why we should never feel guilty about taking some time to ourselves, to do the things that make us feel happy, because this has a positive effect on all aspects of our health – physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
What does self-care look like?
Self-care looks different from person to person but includes things like eating well and finding a regular sleeping pattern. Our Healthy Futures results show 55 per cent of New Zealanders feel they are simply not getting enough sleep.
The main reasons people aren’t sleeping is having a high mental load and feeling anxious or stressed. Being on a device or watching TV before bed has increasingly become a barrier to people getting to bed on time. While being busy at work and stressed about life in general can sometimes feel out of our control, what we can control is getting off our devices and reducing our TV time before bed.
Self-care also means taking some time to do what makes you feel good, such as going for a walk in the fresh air, doing a favourite hobby, or going for coffee with a friend.But whatever that self-care looks like, putting aside some guilt-free time each week to focus on what you need means your cup can remain full for tackling whatever else life is throwing your way.