Self-care can be defined by the term itself – taking care of oneself. Self-care encompasses everything you do to stay healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. It may sound like common sense to prioritize self-care. However, it’s often the first thing we do when we find ourselves in challenging situations, whether it’s health issues, a financial crisis, losing a job, a divorce, or our current situation. For this reason, it is important to keep this in mind and not as an afterthought, especially in difficult times.
WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT?
In a society where people are expected to work long hours and spend their vacation days at the office, there is an underlying belief that we should always be productive, which can ultimately rob us of opportunities for self-care. By making time to take care of yourself, you can relieve the pressures of everyday life and reset yourself to return to a healthy point of maximizing productivity again. Considering the costs associated with psychiatric services, lost wages, and more, taking some time for yourself can benefit you and others.
Participating in a self-care routine has been clinically shown to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, relieve stress, improve focus, minimize frustration and anger, increase happiness, improve energy, and more. From a physical health perspective, self-care has been clinically shown to reduce heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Spiritually, it can help us stay in tune with our higher power and find our purpose in life.
SELF-CARE CAN HELP MANAGE STRESS
While small amounts of stress are a healthy way to motivate yourself to complete a task, chronic stress and anxiety can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. Self-care habits like staying in touch with a loved one or practicing meditation reduce the negative effects of stress, thereby improving your mood and increasing your energy levels and confidence.
SELF-CARE CAN IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PARTNER
Caring for your own interests strengthens your relationship with your partner. Relying solely on your partner for your full support and for all your needs can take a tremendous toll on your relationship. It’s best to keep interests out of your relationship to create a sense of independence and help you build trust. All of this leads to better mental health.
SELF-CARE CAN HELP YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
Self-care starts with taking care of your basic needs. It’s not just about your sanity. It’s also about taking care of yourself, eating a healthy diet, prioritizing sleep, and exercising regularly.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF SELF-CARE?
This question is a bit more difficult to answer because self-care is different for everyone. It’s about taking care of yourself mentally and physically, and everyone’s needs are different. Anything you do for yourself to help you feel better or take care of yourself can be referred to as self-care. It could be flossing regularly, it could be taking time for yourself when you need it, or it could be a haircut.
The term self-care is used as well used in the medical community to refer to individuals taking care of their own health. This includes everything from choosing a healthy lifestyle to taking an active part in managing long-term illness.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SELF-CARE
Self-care is not just about finding ways to relax. It is about taking care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. To take care of your health and well-being, it is important to find a balance that allows you to address each of these areas. Sometimes you may need more self-care in a certain area to restore balance or relieve a stressor in your life.
1) PHYSICAL SELF-CARE
You must take care of your body if you want to ensure that it works efficiently. Remember that there is a powerful connection between your body and your mind. Taking care of your body will also make you think and feel better.
Physical self-care includes how you nourish your body, how much you sleep, how much exercise you do and the activity you get, and how well you take care of your body. Keeping doctor’s appointments, taking prescribed medications, and looking after your health is all part of good physical self-care.
2) SOCIAL SELF-CARE
Socialization is the key to self-care. It’s often difficult to make time for friends, and it’s easy to neglect relationships when life is busy. Close connections are important to your well-being. The best way to cultivate and maintain close relationships is to devote time and energy to building your relationships with others.
There is no set number of hours that you need to spend with your friends or work. Everyone has slightly different social needs. The key is to figure out what your social needs are and to allow enough time in your schedule to create an optimal social life.
3) MENTAL SELF-CARE
The way you think and the things you fill your mind with have a huge impact on your mental well-being. This involves doing things that keep your mind sharp, like puzzles or learning about a topic that intrigues you. You may find that reading inspirational books or watching movies nourishes your spirit. Mental self-care also includes doing things that help you stay sane. For example, practicing self-compassion and self-acceptance will help you engage in healthier self-talk.
4) SPIRITUAL SELF-CARE
Various kinds of research show that a lifestyle that includes religion or spirituality is generally healthier. Cultivating the spirit does not have to involve religion. It can include anything that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, or connection to the universe. Whether you enjoy meditating, attending a church service, or praying yourself – spiritual self-care is important
5) EMOTIONAL SELF-CARE
It is important to have healthy coping skills for dealing with uncomfortable emotions such as dealing with anger, fear, and sadness. Emotional self-care can include activities that help you identify and express your feelings regularly and safely. Whether you’re talking to your partner or a close friend about how you’re feeling, or you’re spending time in recreational activities that help you manage your emotions to process, it’s important to involve the emotional self.
DEVELOP YOUR SELF-CARE PLAN
An effective self-care plan should fit your life and needs. It must be something created by you for you. Personalizing your self-care plan can serve as a preventive measure to ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed, stressed, or burned out.
Assess which areas of your life need more attention and personal care. Revaluate your life often. As your situation changes, your personal care needs are likely to change as well.
The following steps may help develop your self-care plan:
- Consider Your Factors Stressors: Think about the aspects of these areas that cause stress and how you can address that stress.
- Assess Your Needs: Make a list of the different areas of your life and the main activities you do every day. Work, school, relationships, and family are just a few you might mention.
- Plan Challenges: If finds that he’s neglecting an aspect, plan for a change.
- Develop Strategies for Self-Care: Think of some activities you can do to feel better about each of these areas of your life. Spending time with friends or setting boundaries, for example, can be a way to build healthy social connections.
- Set Aside Time to Focus on Your Needs: When you have time to do something else, make self-care a priority. If you take care of all aspects of yourself, you will find that you can work more effectively and efficiently.
- Take Small Steps: No, you don’t need to tackle everything at once. Identify one small step you can take to take better care of yourself.
- Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle: By improving your physical health, you are better able to maintain your mental health and therefore may be able to support someone you care about more effectively.
Regular exercising is an important part of staying healthy both physically and mentally. Exercise doesn’t have to be a complicated workout routine at the gym. It can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking or cycling instead of driving. Exercising daily produces hormones that reduce stress and improve your overall health.
- Eating Healthy Foods Is What Gives Your Body Energy for Exercise: By eating mostly unprocessed foods, you can reduce the risk of chronic disease and stabilize your energy and mood.
- Getting Enough Sleep Is Also Important to Maintain Your Physical and Mental Health: Humans generally need 7 to 9 hours of sleep to stay healthy. Turning off your phone and TV about 30 minutes before bed can help you sleep better.
- No to Drugs & Alcohol: Avoiding the use or abuse of drugs and alcohol is an important aspect of stress because instead of reducing stress, drugs and alcohol can make it worse.
- Practicing Relaxation Exercises Such as Deep Breathing and Meditation: These can help reduce stress and clear your mind. Ask your doctors or physician for relaxation exercises that you can do at home or office.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Frankly, when you are caring for someone who may be suicidal, finding time for yourself can be difficult. However, to be a productive caregiver, it is important to have some alone time. Write a list of activities that you enjoy and that you can refer to when you need time to yourself. These activities don’t have to be elaborate or require a lot of planning. These can be as simple as walking in the park, listening to music, or writing in your diary. Anything that makes you feel better is worth spending a little time each day.
WHAT COUNTS AS SELF-CARE AND WHAT DOESN’T?
There is no way to say exactly what counts as self-care, as that is everyone’s definition of their own. The basic rule is that it is something that gives you more pleasure in the long term. While there are many examples of self-care that seem to walk a fine line between being healthy and enjoying yourself, self-care doesn’t have to be about filling your calendar with wasteful experiences or activities that cost money (although it certainly can be).
Consider a manicure or massage or other pampering activity. It may seem rampant, but if the activity helps you relieve stress and make time for yourself, it counts as self-care. If weekly manicures or monthly spa days are beyond your capabilities, there are many other self-care practices you can employ.
Self-care doesn’t have to cost you a huge money. It can be things that you would enjoy. Much of what we enjoy or are satisfied with does not cost anything. For example, going outside and taking deep breaths might be the best act of self-care.
Even if you can’t devote a lot of time and money, you can still do it several times a week. Practice self-care by turning the things you do every day into self-care practices or find ways to make everyday tasks like showering more enjoyable.
Choose a soap with a scent you love and focus on the physical sensations of showering. Daily chores, like making the bed in the morning, are also examples of self-care, or can be. This is where individuality comes into play, because for some people there is no way to make the bed like a personal care, it can just seem like a chore. If it helps you get your day back and gives you a sense of accomplishment right from the start, you’ll have it with you even when the rest of the day gets out of hand.
Just making the bed in the morning may not be enough to cover all your personal hygiene needs. You may routinely need to devote time and energy to other self-care practices. There are days when you feel out of control, one of the most important forms of self-care might be to start the day doing what you wanted to do for yourself on those days.
Sometimes, when all our other self-care plans fall apart (you worked on your yoga class in, your friend cancelled your coffee date; we all have been there). These are small self-care practices that provide enough calm to help us get through the day and wake up in a better mood tomorrow.