Practicing self-care is essential for maintaining your physical and emotional wellbeing. However, it’s often something we don’t think about until it’s too late.
In this post, I’ll go over why you need to practice self-care is and how you can include self-care activities in your everyday life.
Practicing self-care is so important, yet so many of us neglect it.
We live in a time where our lives are so busy that we have a hard time stopping for a minute and just taking care of us. Self-care is usually the last item on our priority list.
We, women, are especially prone to putting our needs last. We often feel guilty about taking care of ourselves and believe others should be put first. I’ve often heard from women that it took a life-changing event for them to prioritize their needs. Things like an illness, a death, or an accident.
But you shouldn’t wait for these events to happen to spur you into action! The best time to start taking care of you is NOW.
- Have a hard time falling asleep
- Have a to-do list that keeps getting longer and longer
- Feel like you never have any time
- Keep saying “yes” when you should be saying “no”
- Cancel personal plans on a regular basis
- Feel overwhelmed and stressed out
- Go from one obligation to the next
… then you are in need of self-care!
What self-care is
Self-care is a very general term that encompasses anything that is good for you. There is no unique recipe that everyone should follow, it really depends on your situation. It’s about knowing yourself, what your needs are, when your tank is running low, and when you need to take a step back to recharge.
What self-care isn’t
Self-care is not selfish. It’s about self-preservation. It’s about putting your needs first so that you can bring your best self to the table to help others. If you’re stressed out, exhausted, and strung-out, how can you bring value to the world?
Self-care is not about adding a long list of activities to your to-do list. The idea isn’t to overwhelm you even more. In fact, it’s the opposite! It’s about understanding your needs and prioritizing them.
Self-care is not all about bubble baths, chocolate, and spas. It’s about making the choice to take care of you and creating a life that you don’t need to take a vacation from. It’s about making hard choices because you know they’ll benefit you in the long run.
Self-care is not a last resort you turn to when things are so overwhelming and stressful that you’re close to a burn-out. It’s about implementing daily habits that become second nature and that enable you to recharge your batteries.
Why is self-care so important?
Self-care is crucial for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and that’s exactly right! How can you give what you don’t have? In order to serve others, you must first serve yourself.
Practicing self-care comes with many benefits:
Prioritizing your tasks and getting rid of non-essential ones means that you focus your attention on what truly matters. You learn to say no and you manage your time much more efficiently.
Lowers stress and anxiety
Taking time to spend on yourself and your needs has been proven to lower stress and anxiety levels. It enables you to know your limits, when to say no, and recognizing when you need to take a break.
Boosts your physical health
Making sure you’re getting enough exercise and rest, eating healthy foods, taking mindful breaks activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This puts your body into rest and restore mode which enables it to face daily stressors much more effectively and has a great impact on your overall physical health.
Improves your relationship with others
The more you attend to your needs, the more you are able to attend to the needs of others. If you’re exhausted and stressed, you’re more likely to feel frustration, maybe even resentment towards the people you are helping. By slowing down and taking care of you, you’ll be a better caretaker and you’ll have more energy to dedicate to others?.
Increases your sense of self-worth and increases self-compassion
When you spend time on yourself, you’re telling yourself that you are worth it and that you deserve it. You pay close attention to the voice in your head and what you tell yourself.
Different types of self-care
Like I’ve already mentioned, self-care isn’t all about bath salts, chocolate, and massages. While these are definitely enjoyable, practicing self-care can take many different forms!
Related: 30-day self-care challenge
Here are different types of self-care:
Physical self-care is the most basic type of self-care. It’s about how you treat your body, what you put in it, what you put on it, how much sleep you get, and how much you exercise. It helps you feel good on the outside and on the inside.
Physical self-care ideas:
- Drink the equivalent of your weight in ounces of water
- Practice yoga or pilates
- Dance your heart out
- Eat your fruits and vegetables
- Use natural beauty products on your skin
Emotional self-care is about connecting to your emotions. It’s about understanding them, processing them in a healthy way, and dealing with them. Practicing emotional self-care allows for self-compassion and understanding. Remember, your emotions have a purpose and aren’t intrinsically good or bad.
Emotional self-care ideas:
- Keep a journal where you can write down your feelings in an honest and open way
- Create a gratitude list
- Practice positive affirmations and reduce negative self-talk
- Process your emotions through art: painting, writing, drawing
- See a therapist and talk it out
Spiritual self-care is about getting in touch with your values, what matters most to you. It nourishes your soul and enables you to get in touch with your inner self. No matter your background (religious, atheist, agnostic), you can benefit from practicing spirituality. This can be through religion, believing in something greater than yourself, or it can be through just getting in touch with your spirit and soul.
Spiritual self-care ideas:
- Spend time in nature
- Attend church
- Read uplifting, inspiring quotes
Humans are social beings by nature. We need and crave connection to others and it’s important to have that connection for our wellbeing. This is even more true today with everything that’s going on with social distancing and sheltering at home.
Social self-care ideas:
- Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
- Go on a lunch date with your partner
- Facetime your family members
- Join a club
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger
Intellectual self-care is about challenging and nourishing your mind. It’s about expanding your knowledge and learning new things. It’s about figuring out what your strengths are and building those up even more.
Intellectual self-care ideas:
- Read a personal development book
- Learn a new language
- Listen to audiobooks/podcasts
- Do a crossword puzzle
- Organize your desk
Sensory self-care is all about using your 5 senses to calm your body and mind. Using your senses allows you to be in the present moment by focusing on the sensations around you. You might find that some senses speak more to you than others. Test out different activities and see which one benefits you the most.
Sensory self-care ideas:
- Light your favorite scented candles
- Walk barefoot outside
- Listen to soothing music
- Savor your favorite food
- Watch the flames of a fire
How to make time to practice self-care
It can be easy to get caught up in your daily life and feel like you don’t have time to practice self-care. However, being intentional and setting time to practice self-care is essential. Here are some ways to make sure you include self-care in your day to day life:
- Block dedicated self-care time in your calendar (even if it’s just 10 minutes)
- Set a reminder on your phone
- Create a daily routine (check out the morning routine that changed my life)
- Do a 30-day self-care challenge
Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be complicated and time-consuming, quite the opposite really! Make sure you prioritize your needs first in order to meet the needs of others effectively.
Remember, practicing self-care isn’t selfish!
Now you have all of the tools to start taking care of you, so what are you waiting for?
What does self-care mean to you? Do you take time out of your day to practice self-care? Let me know!
Till next time,