The comedic mantra “treat yo’self” may come to mind, but self-care isn’t heedless splurging. Research shows that self-care enhances your health, decisions, and day-to-day actions.
If self-care isn’t overspending sprees or pamper days, what is it?
What it is:
Self-care can also include factors from a communal standpoint, like community involvement, neighborhood participation, and cultural empowerment.
Emotional Self Care
The centerpiece of self-care is the promotion of health and well-being. Emotional self-care is centered around ensuring your emotional needs are met and protected. Some effective strategies for emotional self-care include:
- maintaining positive relationships
But emotional care also means taking time for valued activities meaningful to you. The importance of slotting time to pursue, develop, or just dabble with a hobby or pastime is often undervalued or brushed off as a waste of time.
What makes it appealing to your personal tastes is also what makes it grounding for you when life difficulties loom large. Your hobby might be active or passive leisure including but not limited to:
Physical Self Care
Physical self-care is a broad term that can refer to a range of practices. It can include basic daily life activities that, during a mental or physical health episode, we tend not to follow through on. These can include:
- washing up and putting on fresh clothes
- skin care
- dental hygiene
Other aspects of physical self-care include:
- eating right
- getting regular exercise
Spiritual Self Care
Spiritual self-care involves a number of practices focused on connecting with your inner being, which may assist people in their personal development, sense of peace, and foundation to fall back on.
Spiritual self-care involves ensuring your spiritual needs are met. Possible strategies for spiritual self-care include:
- community involvement
- seeking peace and finding joy
- reading inspirational and motivational books
What self-care is not
Self-care should not be viewed as something you only do if you have time. Neither is self-care something that should only be a reward that can be gained once other tasks are completed.
Self-care, if practiced appropriately, needs to be an integral part of your daily life. Fortifying your emotional, physical, and spiritual health through self-care is the foundation for your overall health and well-being.
Self-care is not an indulgence. Rather, it’s an essential component of prevention for distress, burnout, and impairment. Self-care shouldn’t be considered as something “extra” or “nice to do if you have the time.”
Pointers to start practicing self-care
Getting started with self-care can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to know what methods of self-care will best benefit you, or what areas of your life you should focus on.
You could start by writing and ask yourself questions like:
Be specific in your responses. Rather than write that you feel like you don’t have time to yourself, you might instead write that you feel deprived of uninterrupted alone time away from your family. Having this time would enable you to do something just for you, like shop for yourself, read a book, or catch up with a friend.
Being specific will help you identify what you’re lacking and what you need.
Richardson also suggests creating a “No List.” Knowing what you don’t want to do, she affirms, is just as important as knowing what you do want to do.
Examples that might go on the No List include:
- Not gossiping
- Not rushing
- Not holding on to things you don’t love or need
The No List makes it clear what you refuse to deal with in your life. Having such a list can help you feel protected and safe, and leave you free to engage in self-care.
Self-care can take many forms, such as physical, spiritual, and emotional self-care. It’s an important factor in maintaining health and well-being.
Self-care might range from a hot soak and yoga to everyday activities like preparing meals you want to eat or dressing in your choice of style. Self-care is not an indulgence.
Tailoring self-care for your budget, season in life, and personal needs for whole body wellness, inside and out, can be energizing and exciting in itself.