Self-care is just about everywhere you look these days. The term self-care might make you think of massages, face masks and manicures, but truthfully the concept of self-care is much larger and more important than all that. Self-care isn't just a buzzword; it is an essential part of our overall well-being.
Think of self-care as any practice or activity that you do to support the health of your mind, body and spirit. It certainly can be those spa days and bubble baths.
Still, it can also be something as simple as cooking yourself a healthy meal, making a doctor's appointment, setting aside time for you and your partner, setting boundaries, or asking for help when you need it. At its core, self-care is all about making your mental, physical and emotional health a priority, in whatever capacity you need it. And there are some real benefits, too…
- Helps you to cope with life and your emotions in a healthy and productive way.
- Paves the way for better physical health, more self-confidence and allows you to serve others better when you are fulfilled.
- Can motivate you, improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and even help you build and maintain healthy relationships.
- Can improve your self-esteem
- Can energize you and can help you make time for the things that really matter.
- Can even increase your productivity and ease the risk of burnout.
- Can help you to see things more clearly and boost your creativity
- Helps you maintain a healthy relationship with the most important person: yourself.
Self-care is different for everyone, and it might even be different for you from one day to the next. Here are a few ideas for self-care habits you can implement to put your own health and wellness. As you read through this list, notice the patterns that jump out at you as something that resonates with your values or something you might be missing in your day-to-day life. Does your physical body need nurturing? Are you feeling emotionally drained or lacking social interactions? Start with those habits first. Try taking some time each week, and if possible, every day, to try one or more of these habits to create an easy, do-able self-care routine!
Boost Your Nutrition
Caring for your body by shopping for, preparing and cooking healthful meals is a great way to practice self-care. Set aside time for these activities and stay mindful during them by acknowledging the reasons behind them. Caring for your physical body by nourishing it with whole, healthy foods is an act of self-respect.
Get In Touch With Your Spiritual Side
Spirituality doesn't have to mean religion- although it could! Connecting with your spiritual side could mean spending time outside in nature, taking time to meditate, practicing yoga, volunteer, writing in a gratitude journal, etc. It means connecting with yourself on a deeper level, cutting out the background noise and doing something meaningful just for yourself.
Oh yes, sleep can be self-care! If you feel the effects of burnout, prioritizing your sleep is an effective way of honouring your body with self-care. You'll boost your brain health and find yourself better equipped to concentrate, communicate and focus during the day. Try simply going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (yep, even on weekends) to help train your body to get adequate, restorative sleep each night.
Most likely, you already have a daily skincare routine in place, but taking some time to be mindful of the way you are treating your skin is a great self-care practice, too. Taking care of your skin is not only relaxing and stress-relieving but a way to remind yourself that you're worth taking care of. It doesn't have to be anything over the top, either- any product that makes you feel good when you use it contributes to this feeling.
Sweat it Out
Exercise is a common form of self-care as well. Regular physical activity boasts a whole host of benefits on its own, both physical and mental. Taking the time to move your body not only gives you an energy and mood boost but it reminds you that fitness is about caring for and respecting your body.
Make it a Routine
Just as one trip to the gym or one healthy meal won't automatically make you the picture of good health, practicing self-care one time won't help you reap all of the benefits. You've got to make it a routine. Take a few minutes to jot down the areas of self-care that you could benefit most from (physical health? relaxation? self-renewal? emotional connection? etc.), and then think of a few activities you enjoy that fall under each of these categories that would support and contribute to this goal. When and where can you make time for these activities? Think about your schedule on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Where, realistically, can you fit these activities in? The more practical you can be with your scheduling, the more likely you will complete your self-care practices.
Here is the takeaway: self-care is an important aspect of caring for and appreciating ourselves while also tending to our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Self-care is about more than fancy face masks. It is anything that helps us work towards being healthy, happy, nourished and fulfilled human beings. When it comes down to it, self-care is about self-respect. It is OK to take time to take care of yourself and your well-being.
Slow down, support and prioritize yourself.