To define self-care, I am talking about the conscious act one takes to promote their own physical, mental and emotional well being. This is important as often I see people driving themselves into the ground, only to make themselves sick, then being forced to take time off to recover. Or the mom that focuses on everyone else’s needs and forgets her own, which in turn teaches her children unhealthy habits, this was my experience.
I raised 5 children, I worked a full time job, ran the local PTA, belonged to a group that raised money for the community, I took care of a sick husband and took care of the home. I thought I was practicing self-care by working out each morning, eating well, attending church and escaping to the spa once a month. Besides, I made sure I had my makeup on, hair and nails were fresh and I was fit. This is not true self-care, I was not fully conscious of my needs; it was just the appearance I had it all together, in the end I crashed and got very sick. I had to learn what self-care was and how to implement it into my personal life, now I want to help you do the same.
Self-care is vital for creating resilience toward those stressors we each face in life. When we take the steps to take care of our mind, body and spirit we have the tools then to live our best life and remain in the positive. Unfortunately many people view self-care as a luxury or being selfish, rather than a priority. The result then is feeling overwhelmed and inadequately equipped to handle life and all its challenges.
What if I told you that actually when you practice self-care we teach our spouse and children the importance to taking care of yourself, plus you will be in a better mood and you will be able to give more of yourself at home and work. Let us look at some ways to do this.
Physical self-care is the first place to start, not the last! Being physically well will help your mental clarity too. You need to be giving your body the right nutrients, drinking plenty of water, getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and exercising daily. Do you manage your personal health with your doctor? Perhaps checking your vitamin levels each year, such as B12, Iron and Vitamin D, this can help make sure your body is working correctly.
Mental self-care helps to keep the brain sharp, maybe reading a book, doing puzzles or watching a movie that inspires your mind. Mental self-care also means you have to understand how you respond to things, what are your triggers and do you have a plan to help you deal with these to lessen your stress. Knowing your limits and setting boundaries with friends, family and work will help you keep balance.
What things make you happy? Do you incorporate these into your day, or at least in your week? It is nobody else’s responsibility to bring you happiness, you need to implement the things that bring you joy. Maybe dinner out with a friend, walk on the beach, visiting the spa, or playing with your kids.
What do you do to relieve the stress during and at the end of the day? Taking little breaks throughout the day can help to refresh the mind; you could go for a quick walk, do some breathing exercises, get a drink of water, listen to a song, talk to someone or send a quick text to your loved one, your brain needs these short pauses to recharge.
Emotional Self-care is so important as these are healthy coping skills to deal with your emotions. What do you do to deal with your emotions? Can you talk to your partner or close friend, a confidant to share how you feel? These close connections with friends and family also build our social self-care, choosing positive nurturing relationships and not ones that are full of drama, people that tear you down and cause you more stress. Knowing your limits helps to keep balance, figuring out when to slow down, when to say no and when to ask for help. Make a conscious plan for yourself, write it down and start implementing this into your life.
Under my emotional self-care I add in the spiritual self-care. That might take the form of meditating, praying, going for a walk in nature, watching a sunset or sunrise, reading or listening to something inspirational. The one thing I do is start each day with something I am thankful for and recognize I have been give a new day and at the end of each day I verbalize two things that I was thankful for from that day. These help me start and end my day on a positive.
If you need help implementing a plan, I can help guide you through this process. Or perhaps you need an accountability coach, I offer virtual or in person wellness coaching consultations, 45 minutes for $50. I offer a safe place to help support you on a plan that works for you.
And finally, self care means taking time to love yourself and appreciating that there’s only one you and you’re the expert on that.