I’ll admit that self-care has been a bit of a buzzword lately in the wellness community. But, it’s for good reason. I’m a firm believer that self-care is an essential part of a well rounded healthy lifestyle. Gone are the days where you need to eat perfectly, work out 6 days a week to feel and be healthy.
I love that the conversation around health is changing and moving in a more holistic and sustainable direction. Because god knows there’s more to life than obsessing over calories.
But before I go on and on about why self-care is important, first let’s define it.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
Self-care is the practice of taking time to do activities that nurture your mind, body and/or spirit. Some common examples include: reading, taking a bath, lighting candles, coloring, going for a walk. But there are no wrong answers really.
Self-care is about intentionally taking time to care for yourself in whatever way suits you and nurtures you.
IT’S IMPORTANT BECAUSE…
When you can take good care of yourself you can really show up and be present in your life. I’m sure you can think back to a time (maybe it’s right now) where you were running around doing everything for everyone else 24/7. You probably weren’t sleeping well and maybe the exhaustion spiked your food cravings. Maybe you stopped exercising or maybe you over-exercised. At these times, we tune out the signals telling us we need to slow down.
Often, what happens is eventually you’ll burn out. When you’re physically and emotionally exhausted, you just can’t do good work, period, even when you’re doing what you love.
Taking breaks is vital for restoring energy. That goes for creative energy, too.
AND IN CASE YOU’RE THINKING SELF-CARE SOUNDS INDULGENT…
It’s not. Seriously it isn’t. It’s an important aspect of your health. When you’re well rested and seen as a priority (by YOU), then you can be better in pretty much all areas of life. It’s really all about your energy. That goes for your energy to physically show up and be engaged, but also your emotional energy. Self-care is a way to recharge your batteries.
HOW YOU PRACTICE SELF-CARE IS TOTALLY UP TO YOU
Whether you take a day for yourself every week or incorporate some kind of self-care practice each day it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how you feel and whether you can make your practice sustainable.
Different activities and strategies will work for different people, but have fun while you try new things out and document what really makes a difference.
Self-care looks different for everyone. What may be soothing to one person could be stressful to another. An extrovert may find that socializing with friends is an excellent form of self-care while an introvert would find this draining. However, there are some tips that work for the majority of people and will help you get some ideas on how to practice self-care in your own way.
1.Practice a physical activity
We often overlook our physical health when discussing mental and emotional health, but the mind-body connection can’t be denied. When your body feels healthy and strong, your mood soars, and when you’re in a great emotional state, it shows in how you move your body.
Make it a point to regularly engage in physical activities you love as a form of self-care. Whether it’s going for a run, swimming or attending a yoga class, changing your physical state from sedentary to active is a simple and fulfilling way to take care of yourself. It can even be something as simple as going for a walk with a coworker during your lunch hour.
Whatever self-care tips you decide to incorporate, make sure they bring you at least some level of happiness. Forcing yourself to jog every morning if you’re miserable the entire time should not be on your list of self-care activities.
2. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
It’s hard to feel fulfilled when you’re constantly focusing on the negatives in life. Why? Because where your focus goes, your energy flows. Say you’re at a restaurant on an incredible date with someone you’re deeply interested in.
Everything’s going well until your waiter mixes up your order and you end up getting the wrong dish. You decide to eat the incorrect order but are secretly fuming about it. When you look back on the evening, you can hardly remember your connection with your date, but you still remember receiving the wrong order.
Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, learn to adopt an abundance mindset. This is perhaps one of the most life-changing self-care ideas you can incorporate into your life. Reframing your thoughts and shifting your focus is a deliberate practice that takes time. However, if you’re able to accomplish it, you’ll experience greater joy and fulfillment in all areas of your life.
3. PRACTICE FOCUS AND GRATITUDE
Self-care tips don’t all have to involve making major changes to your lifestyle – they can be as simple as finding a few minutes to reflect each morning. Instead of reaching for your phone or hitting the snooze button when you wake up, try a priming routine.
This 10-minute exercise requires you to become conscious of your breathing, practice gratitude, visualize what you want and focus your newfound positive energy on accomplishing goals that are important to you.
Creating a morning routine can help you to stay on track and centered throughout the day. It can also help you deal with challenges as you learn that even the biggest roadblocks can be reframed into an advantageous opportunity.
4. SAY “NO”
Knowing when to say “no” is one of the self-care activities that people have the most trouble with. Between work and your personal life, it feels like you’re always saying “yes” when people ask you for something. It can be rewarding to have a full calendar, but it’s also important to know when to say “no.”
If you’re feeling run down or spread thin, grant yourself the ultimate luxury: downtime. By taking the necessary time needed to recharge, you’ll bolster your energy and be able to return to your regular schedule with increased energy and gusto.
Carefully choose when you say “yes” and make sure you are only agreeing to activities or requests that align with your values or bring you happiness. When following your passion is one of your self-care activities, you seamlessly create a business and life you love.
IDEAS FOR PRACTICING SELF CARE TO GET YOU STARTED
With a little bit of attention to your own self-care, the fog will lift.
You’ll feel more connected to yourself and the world around you.
You’ll delight in small pleasures, and nothing will seem quite as difficult as it did before.
Like that car, you must keep yourself tuned up to make sure that you don’t need a complete overhaul.
Incorporating a few of these tiny self-care ideas in your day will help keep you in tune.
Which one will you try first?