Self-Care and Indian Women!
Most Indian women suffer from what is termed as “The Martyr’s Syndrome’'
From the very childhood, she grows up in an environment where she sees the ladies around her – her mother, her aunts etc – putting others’ needs before her own. Thus, from the in-laws to other close relatives to the immediate family – she must first take care of them before caring for herself. So, very often you will find her having food after feeding the rest of the family or postponing her medical care till it is not possible any longer and much more.
But hey, these are physical needs. What about psychological and sexual needs? Yes, sexual too. But in a society where the average Indian homemaker tends to strongly believe that her existence is largely to ensure that her family’s needs are taken care of.
So, let’s look at how women view self-care?
A reputed psychologist defines it thus:
“Self-care is just another name for taking care of yourself, which is vital for your health and well-being; more specifically, self-care means identifying and meeting your needs, which is something that most women struggle with.”
Now, in an environment where women are caretakers and caregivers first, it may feel awkward and even selfish to suddenly shift the balance from caring for everyone else to caring for yourself. But what is equally true is that you must view self-care differently and enter into this uncharted territory, despite the initial discomfort it can bring.
Self-care simply means you’re taking time to care for yourself; and if you don’t properly care for yourself, your body will let you know in negative ways.
Now, once your body lets you know, you will not be able to properly deliver on the role of the “caretaker” that others view you as. So, why the hell are you being a martyr?
Why self-care is so important?
Chronic stress wreaks havoc on your health. It weakens your immune system, inflames your body and makes you more susceptible to multiple health issues; and some of these physical health issues can also lead to psychological issues.
How to prioritize your health?
Self-care means taking care of yourself; that is, setting time aside for keeping up with your doctor’s appointments, moving your body and eating foods that will keep you nourished and thriving.
But it’s also important to engage in practices and activities that help you center yourself. What helps is starting your self-care routine by simply taking some time each day to pause. One study found that even just 15 minutes of alone time can help lower stress, so go solo in ways that will help you unwind.
Thus, it helps to find an activity that promotes inner peace and calm, one that allows you to unwind from stress and get in touch with your needs.
It is possible that you may already know what type of self-care works best for you. Maybe it’s going for a run, playing with your pet, or cooking your favorite meal. It could even be binge-watching your favorite TV series. So, make your choice, and you may even experiment with different self-care practices and see what feels best.
Here are a few simple self-care tips for beginners:
Going to bed early
Spend time in nature
Doing Yoga or something similar
Spend 10 to 15 minutes doing a few simple yoga poses or stretches.
Try an Epsom salt bath.
Go for guided meditation
Practice some positive affirmations
Read a book in your favorite chair with your favorite cup of tea
Cook or bake a delicious and healthy recipe.
Take a social media break.
Take a walk around your neighborhood, noticing the sights and sounds and stopping to smell the flowers.
Do something creative
Take a nap
Or do something that you love doing – like taking a holiday, alone or with family.
Give yourself some “me time!”
Your mind as well as your body will thank you!