Have you ever found it difficult to get a handle on self-care? Maybe you haven’t found a self-care activity that sticks, or maybe the term “self-care” isn’t quite clear. Maybe you feel that you just don’t need it, or don’t have time for it. Let’s challenge those thoughts and imagine what your self-care could look like!
Self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself or making yourself feel good. It’s not only useful when we’re feeling down, or when we’re burnt out. It’s not an optional or occasional, and it’s definitely not a “one size fits all” approach. So, what exactly is self-care?
Self-care is about being intentional with your actions to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. It’s about honouring yourself, setting boundaries, and making time for you in a way that brings you joy and relaxation!
You might be thinking “You just said it’s not just about feeling good”. I did, and that’s because sometimes the things that bring us joy and relaxation don’t initially feel good. Imagine this – You’re been feeling lonely and don’t have much energy. You really just want to scroll through social media, maybe send a few posts to friends or family. Although this is tempting and might feel good in the moment, this doesn’t honour you or improve your well-being. So, what could I do instead? A great way to manage that loneliness and low energy might be to reach out to that friend you were going to send that post to; suggest a virtual coffee date or going for a walk. Something low commitment that provides a deeper connection and nurtures your well-being.
Everyone has their own preferences, things that work, and things that don’t. So it makes sense that people would have many different self-care actions or routines. Whatever your self-care looks like, it’s important to carve out this time to focus on you. Let’s start by exploring some of the different types of self-care.
Types of Self-Care
Physical Self-Care – activities that promote physical well-being. This can include exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and regular check-ups with your doctor. Engaging in activities like yoga, jogging, or dancing can help boost your mood and reduce stress levels 🏋️♀️
Example 1: Take a daily 20-minute walk in nature to unwind and clear your mind
Example 2: Drink water and reduce caffeine intake
Emotional Self-Care – acknowledging and addressing your feelings. It includes activities that help you manage stress, express your emotions, and develop resilience. Journaling, talking to a friend, or practicing mindfulness meditation are all ways to nurture your emotional well-being 📝
Example 1: Use a gratitude journal and jot down three things you are grateful for
Example 2: Embrace your feelings – laugh out loud, allow yourself to cry
Mental Self-Care – stimulating your mind and expanding your knowledge. Reading, solving puzzles, learning a new skill, or pursuing a hobby can keep your brain active and engaged, enhancing your cognitive abilities and overall mental health 📚
Example 1: Dedicate 20 minutes a day to read a book that inspires or educates you
Example 2: Try writing a poem, or even a story
Social Self-Care – building and maintaining healthy relationships with others. Spending time with loved ones, nurturing friendships, and connecting with your community can provide a sense of belonging and support, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness 🤝
Example 1: Plan a coffee date with a friend or family member to catch up and connect
Example 2: Volunteer in your community
Spiritual Self-Care – exploring your beliefs, values, and purpose in life. Engaging in activities such as meditation, prayer, or spending time in nature can help you connect with your inner self and find meaning and purpose 🧘♀️
Example 1: Practice meditation for 10 minutes each day to ground yourself
Example 2: Listen to music or a podcast that aligns with your values
Even with this understanding of different types of self-care, it might still feel challenging to practice self-care regularly. Let’s take a look at 7 useful tips and strategies to help develop a strong self-care routine!
Tips and Strategies to Develop and Practice Self-Care:
1. Prioritize Self-Care – Schedule self-care activities in your calendar, treating them as non-negotiable appointments. Prioritizing self-care shows that you value your well-being 🗓️
2. Set Boundaries – Learn to say no to commitments or activities that drain your energy or cause stress. Setting boundaries helps protect your emotional and mental space 🚫
3. Practice Mindfulness – Stay present in the moment and be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and enhance your overall well-being 🧘♀️
4. Learn to Delegate – Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate tasks. Seeking support is a sign of strength 💪
5. Stay Active – Regular physical activity boosts your mood and energy levels. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy, whether it's dancing, swimming, cycling, or something else! 🕺
6. Unplug from Technology – Take breaks from your devices. Constant exposure to screens can contribute to stress and anxiety. Spend some time in nature, read a physical book, or engage in creative hobbies 🌳
7. Practice Gratitude – Cultivate an attitude of gratitude by acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of your life. Gratitude can shift your focus from what’s lacking to what you have 🌟
By embracing the different types of self-care and incorporating them into our daily lives, we can cultivate resilience, reduce stress, and take steps to enhance our overall well-being. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it’s an investment in your health and well-being. Together, let’s take a deep breath and embrace self-care. You deserve it!