Self-care is an important way of looking after our wellbeing. It refers to taking the time to take care of and nourish ourselves.
Self-care should not be viewed as indulgent or selfish – on the contrary, it is a way of ensuring that we look after our own health and wellbeing enough to be able to accomplish all we need to in our lives as well as to be able to care for others.
There are endless ways we can practice self-care - what constitutes as self-care for one person will not be the same as for another. Self-care activities should promote physical, mental and/or spiritual wellbeing, enable us to feel joy and manage stress better, make us more resilient and ultimately mean we may live longer and more fulfilled lives.
Effects of self-care can be temporary or longer-lasting.
Simple daily tasks like making your bed when you get up in the morning, drinking more water, getting more sleep or increasing your vegetable intake are some examples of what some may find to be challenging but meaningful self-care activities, while being regular daily occurrences for others. Having your nails or hair done may seem self-indulgent to some, while for others this may be exactly the form of self-care needed to bring them joy and help them to cope with their stress.
- Physical self-care: This includes getting enough good quality sleep, exercising regularly and eating a healthy balanced diet.
- Emotional self-care: Meeting up with friends and allowing yourself to say no to things are a couple of ways of practicing emotional self-care.
- Spiritual self-care: Examples are attending a place of worship, meditating, keeping a journal or spending time in nature.
How can we start to make self-care a part of our lives?
It usually takes a conscious effort – a decision to invest in your wellbeing - as it doesn’t always come naturally. If you find it particularly difficult, you may benefit from reaching out for some support, as issues such as past trauma and sometimes, mental health conditions, may make self-care seem like an impossible task.
Here are a few tips to ease you into it:
o Try to identify some activities that bring about positive feelings.
o Start with one of these – be it a behaviour, a daily habit or activity – and set yourself a realistic goal – for example try to incorporate this on just one day of the week to start with.
o Gradually build this up until you are doing this daily for a week.
o Try to reflect on how it makes you feel – journaling is a great way of doing this.
o As you start to feel this has now become a habit for you, try to introduce another new self-care activity in the same way.
Just remember, it doesn’t matter how small the change is that you are making – it is about being consistent so that these become self-care habits over time that will bring about benefits in all areas of your wellbeing.
Disclaimer: The content of this email is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. References are available on request.