Self-care has recently become a very popular term, but what does it really entail? A prominent misconception is that self-care is equivalent to practicing "selfishness" or "self-indulgence." In reality, self-care is simply the act of making sure your physical, emotional, and psychological needs are consistently being met in a healthy manner, promoting your overall well-being. These self-initiated behaviors are deliberately chosen by you to be incorporated into your normal routine; they are personalized to suit your needs!
Signs that You May Benefit From More Self-Care
Anyone can benefit from self-care, and everyone should try to incorporate their own practices into their life! However, if you are feeling especially overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or depressed and unmotivated, you may significantly benefit from incorporating self-care practices in your routine! Showing yourself compassion by practicing self-care techniques that work for you may help reduce the negative symptoms of poor mental and physical health while improving your relationship with yourself and others! Try to regularly ask yourself how you’re doing and search for what your mind and body are asking for.
Strategies for Self-Care
Have a Good Sleep Schedule, Eat Well, and Move!
These three components are very important to ensure your body and mind's regular and healthy functioning. Research has shown that having a consistent sleep schedule with at least 8 hours of sleep every night, as well as exercising regularly, and having a diet consisting of healthy and nutritional foods all lead to lower mortality rates.
Take A Break!
Try to make time to acknowledge your feelings and decompress throughout the day, whether that be through meditative breathing exercises, or by taking a break from social media and electronics. Getting fresh air, taking a simple walk, and appreciating nature can also help. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude are great ways to bring you to the present and reduce the overwhelming presence of your anxieties.
Make Time to Do the Things You Love!
This is a very important step in self-care. We can easily get caught up in the chaos of our lives, but remembering to take part in the little things that make us happy brings us a sense of safety, enjoyment, and even fulfillment. Examples can include personal hobbies such as painting your nails, making art, listening to music, watching movies, journaling, or spending quality time with friends. Additionally, saying no and setting boundaries for things that cause you stress is crucial to maintaining a healthy balance in your relationships. Make sure that you are not stretching yourself thin!
If you are coming up with new ways to practice self-care, try to focus on one smaller task to incorporate into your weekly routine rather than approaching more challenging tasks first. Reflect on your reactions to the self-care practice you choose to implement, and when you feel ready, you can expand your practices to find more ways to elicit similar, positive reactions!
Benefits of Self-Care
The benefits of self-care practices include improved psychological, emotional, and physical wellbeing! In fact, research studies have shown that practicing self-care regularly improves health outcomes, including extending lifespan, promoting resilience, and improving stress management.