It seems everyone is talking about self care these days, but what is it and why is it important for me in my daily life?
Self-care refers to any activities undertaken with the intention of enhancing energy, restoring health and reducing stress.
Lets face it there is a lot of stress in our modern world. A lot of pressure to perform either academically, or within the work place, even in our roles as a parent, partner or spouse. A lot of pressure to be in many places at once and with the realisation that time is limited and there is only one of you.
If you are a parent, running a home, in a relationship there is added pressure to keep all of your balls in the air whilst being the best version of yourself - meanwhile you are TIRED.
But what if life throws you a curveball - you experience a redundancy, a divorce, a death or serious illness?
HOW do you regain your energy - reset your soul and restore your sense of wellbeing in this trying time?
I believe we need to look at our emotional health, our physical health, our spiritual health and our mental health in order to achieve optimum wellbeing.
Here are some helpful tips on self care for you to try for yourself
Self care refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being (the position of being contented, healthy or successful), personal health; and promote human development. Self care refers to daily activities in looking after ourselves, reducing our stress, avoiding or reducing threats and issues that may make a person feel irritable and uncomfortable.
Self care is NOT adding to your todo list – it can be simply identifying what you need at that moment to improve your wellbeing and attending to it.
Self Care can be broken down into Core Areas
- Moving your body gets your heart beating and your blood flowing.
- Enhances mood.
- Encourages the flow of lymph (to detoxify, nourish and regenerate tissue, filter our metabolic waste, and keep up a healthy immune system)
- Boosts energy (when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy)
- Regulates digestion.
Ideas for Physical Self Care
o Go for a walk – a run – a bike ride – dance to some music –
o Get enough sleep
o Eat well
o Drink plenty of water (1-2 litres a day)
o Take a bath – add some essential oils or bath salts
o Book that dentist / doctor appointment
o Get a massage
o Clean your space and declutter
o Buy an essential oils diffuser – lavender helps you feel relaxed – peppermint relieves headache and nausea – rose helps reduce anxiety -
- Tuning into your emotional self is vital to your wellbeing and ability to connect with others.
- It increases empathy
- Helps you recognise and manage your own stress well
- Helps validate and develop self compassion and compassion for others
IDEAS for Emotional Self Care
- Begin 30 days of Gratitude (in response to gratitude our body releases DHEA which helps to counteract the negative impact of stress hormones) Gratitude refocuses our attention to the positive parts of our world that already exist. You can start a gratitude jar, a journal or a photographic journal/ Instagram journey.
- Learn to say NO
- Learn to say YES to yourself
- Make time for reflection – What Went Well is a good practice at the end of each day
- Practise self compassion
- Get support from a professional Find a counsellor mentor or coach
- Practice managing your own boundaries
- Become aware of your own emotions and validate them.
- Learn to process your emotions and let go
o Having supportive networks is vital to our sense of wellbeing, people who you can trust and go to when needed. The need to belong and feel connected is core to the human experience.
IDEAS for Social Self Care
o Join a group – being a part of a group outside of work/ family helps us feel connected
o Be committed to the relationships you want to keep – if you say you will be there, honor that commitment
o Ask for help when you need it
o Say yes when you can to invites to social activities
o Include others in your plans for walks or other activities
o ASK yourself What am I doing to nurture my relationships with friends and family?
- The way you think what you think about greatly influence your psychological well-being.
- Practicing self-compassion and acceptance, helps you maintain a healthier inner dialogue
- Psychological self-care also involves doing things that help you stay mentally healthy.
IDEAS for Psychological Self Care
o Practice mindfulness – being present right here and now with what you are doing and who you are with
o Begin journaling
o Recognise mental filtering – where we only see the negative and fail to see the positive
o Read a book
o Do a digital de-tox
o Spiritual self care involves the beliefs and values that are important to you and guide your life]
o It involves your values and ethics
o Pursuing goals for ‘the greater good’
o Practices that support your developing spiritual awareness
IDEAS for Spiritual Self Care
o Get back to the roots of your own spiritual beliefs and ideals
o Find new spiritual beliefs
o Join a church or group
o Go on a retreat
o Reflect in a journal
o Find your spiritual self
o Learn to meditate and pray
o Walk in nature
Financial/ professional self care
- Boundaries around work and finance
- Being responsible with spending saving and earning
- Having a conscious relationship with money.
Finally BREATHE – enjoy being alive!
If there is something you don’t like, change it. If you cant change it, can you live with it and accept it? If you cant live with it or accept it, leave, do something new.
You get one life! Live it well.