Self-Care: What It Is And Why You Need It

“If I am not responsible for myself and I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of other people.”

Imagine this scenario: you’ve got a deadline due in two days, your boss has tossed a new project your way, and you’ve just got home after only just finishing your daily tasks at the office. Now dinner still needs to be prepared and you’re pretty sure it’s time to vacuum the floors as well even though you really wanted to try out that new face mask tonight and spend some quality time with your Netflix account.

What would you do? How are you possibly going to get so many things done?

If you’re like most people, you’d get to work and give up the face mask and Netflix binge. After all, they’re just frivolous luxuries that should take a backseat to more pressing duties like work and housework, right?

Wrong.

We live in a culture that glorifies hard work. From young, we’re told that we can do anything as long as we work hard enough for it.  And women really do work hard: recent studies have shown that while couples who live together do more housework than singles, it’s the women in those couples that end up doing disproportionately more of it. The most recent Australian census showed that the average woman spends up to 14 hours a week doing housework compared to the average man, who does less than 5 hours a week. And that’s not because men are busy at work: even in families where both parents work full time, mothers still bear more of the child-rearing tasks.

Doing things for yourself when there are more “productive” things to do can be seen as selfish or lazy. With this mentality on top of all the tasks women have to juggle – from studies or work to housework and even emotional labour – it’s no wonder we have so little time for ourselves.

La Cremeria, the luxurious arm of Nestlé Ice Cream, wants to change that.

To celebrate the latest addition to their range of ice creams (Classically Mint, a delicious creamy mint studded with cookie bits and coated in smooth milk chocolate, if you were wondering), La Cremeria invited singer and actress Cheryl Samad, actress Sarah Lian, life coach Sharmini Hensen, and Nestlé Ice Cream’s Consumer Marketing Manager Farrah Norman to engage in a conversation on the importance of a little concept called self-care.

So what is self-care?

Quite simply, self-care is the act of taking care of yourself. It even has a medical definition, which according to Wikipedia, is “any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.”

Self-care encompasses both physical and mental. Just go through the #selfcare tags on Tumblr, Pinterest, or Instagram and you’ll be greeted by a sea of images designed to evoke a sense of peace and calmness, along with positive quotes, reminders and tips for caring for yourself.

While some may brush self-care off as more indulgent millennial behaviour, an excuse for consumerism, or simply pure selfishness, there is plenty of evidence for the positive effects of self-care: it prevents burnout, reduces stress, and helps people perform better. For others, the act of self-care is an important part of coping with mental illness.

 

What does ice cream have to do with self care?

“A few years ago, we did a focus group and we interviewed a few hundred women,” explained Marketing Manager Farrah Norman. “There was a common theme across all of the women where all of the women said that, “I need more time”, “I don’t have time” because there are just so many things to do and time passes by so fast. We took this insight back and we said that we wanted to be the brand that produces or develop or advocates “Me time”.

“Hence, La Cremeria was developed with that in mind. That’s why we don’t eat La Cremeria, we indulge in La Cremeria. The ingredients, the smooth, the chocolate, the creaminess – it’s developed that way so you indulge in it and that 3 or 5 minutes that you take to indulge, that is your time.”

True to La Cremeria’s promise, the lively discussion that ensued was both inspiring and empowering, and had most of the audience nodding their heads in empathy.

 

Why do I need self-care?

“I think in this day and age, self-care is even more important,” said Sharmini. “When you are stressed and out of whack, and tired, you cannot take action to get what you want. So really, to recharge, cut back and calm yourself down and really caring for yourself.”

“We [as women] feel so pressured to do things for our jobs, our family, our friends and our loved ones that we keep going because we don’t want to let anybody down. But you also don’t want to let yourself down,” agreed Sarah Lian. “For me, it’s about being effective, right? I think when you look after yourself and you decide to take time to look after yourself that’s when your engine runs faster, smoother.“

But I don’t have the time for it.

It’s all about making time.

If it all still feels a little to foreign to you, Sharmini also shared some tips on how to get used to the idea of self-care:

  • Realise that you are worth it.
  • Schedule it into your calendar just as you would any other task.
  • Learn how to say no to things.
  • Realise that looking after yourself is the first step towards helping other people.
  • Stop feeling guilty about taking care of yourself – it’s not a productive feeling.

“We make sacrifices as a mom, as a wife. You don’t put yourself first anymore. You never eat the things you want to eat anymore,” said mother-of-two, Cheryl Samad. “It’s the little things you need to do to take care of ourselves. We all have to remember that I am important. I need to look good, feel good and I shouldn’t feel guilty about that.”

 

So whether it’s getting in a workout, making time to have a decent meal, carving out some time in your day to engage in an activity you enjoy, or even taking a break to process and accept your emotions, do it. These small acts of self-care can have a hugely positive effect on your life.

And perhaps we can all start with a little bit of ice cream.

La Cremeria’s new Classically Mint flavour is now available in all major hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other retail outlets nationwide.