Self-care is an extremely important part of leading a healthy life, both physically and mentally. Self-care is a broad reaching theme that can be applied to your life in a variety of ways. It’s basically defined as anything you do that is good for yourself. Self-care can come in the form of exercise, meditation, a hobby, or even positive self-talk. Here are just a few examples of how you can practice self-care and why it’s important.
Why Self-Care is Important
Without self-care you are at risk of burning out both mentally and physically. If you’ve ever found yourself on the hamster wheel of life, you are all too familiar with burn out. It’s when you are constantly going with no time for rest, rejuvenation, or recovery. Your body needs these moments in order to survive and function properly. Self-care is the perfect way to step back for a minute, examine your current situation, and make positive changes in order to make things better. This includes stabilizing your mental and physical condition. Without self-care, you run the risk of suffering from health complications, depression, anxiety, and illness.
It’s also important to identify between healthy self-care practices and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Sometimes, individuals turn to drugs or alcohol for temporary relief from daily stress. These are unhealthy methods of handling stress and can lead to the need for rehabilitation or even death. Read on to discover healthy ways of practicing self-care.
Types of Self-Care
Self-care looks different for everyone and it’s often based on what works best for you and your current needs. There are actually five different types of self-care and none of which are overly time consuming or expensive. You don’t need to schedule huge blocks of time for self-care. By making small changes in your life, you can reap the many benefits of these practices.
The most basic way to achieve physical self-care is through exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which react with receptors in your brain that trigger feelings of happiness and relaxation. Exercise is a natural mood enhancement. Exercise is also great for stress relief. And it doesn’t always mean hitting the gym. Here are a few easy ways to incorporate physical activity into your day.
- Take a walk on your lunch break
- Take a yoga class
- Take your dog for a walk
- Take a bike ride
- Take the stairs
Where there’s a will, there’s a way; and, with a little effort and creativity, you can easily incorporate some physical self-care into your daily routine.
Emotional self-care is just as important as physical, especially since your emotional state can often impact your physical well-being. Stress takes a toll on the body so practicing emotional self-care is important. One of the most important elements of emotional self-care is facing your emotions head-on. This means the good, the bad, and the ugly. The worst thing you can do is to suppress or ignore your feelings. This will result in a build-up and an eventually release, which is often negative. Here are some ways to help manage your emotional well-being.
- Keep a journal
- Let yourself cry when the need arises
- Find support in friends and family
- Speak to a therapist
Try staying in tune with your emotions and your body will often tell you what it needs. All you need to do is listen and respond.
Spiritual self-care does not completely surround religion. You don’t need to be religious in order to understand and practice spiritual self-care. What it really means is being in tune with the things that matter most to you. These include your values, beliefs, and morals. Spiritual self-care also helps you identify and follow a purpose for your life. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few pointers.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness
- Express your creativity through art, writing or music
- Use positive affirmations
- Journal what you’re grateful for
- Spend time surrounded by nature and reflect on it
Spiritual self-care is sometimes simply about taking a moment to stop and appreciate the world around you.
Another way to practice self-care is through sensory practices. This is another way to help calm your mind in the chaos that is life. Sensory self-care helps you to live in the moment and let go of the past. Sensory self-care touches on all of your senses including touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight. Some people respond better to certain sense than others. Experiment with a few and see which sensory experience offers you the most comfort and clarity. Try a few of these exercises.
- Going outside and smelling the fresh air
- Getting a massage using essential oils
- Feeling running water on your hands or body
- Sitting in the warmth of the sun
- Walk barefoot on a soft surface (grass, sand, etc.)
- Focus on your breathing
- Enjoy a cup of hot tea
Sensory self-care really means any experience where you heighten your senses and take notice of the feelings it gives you. Try sensory self-care when you’re alone and in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. This will help you get the most out of the experience.
Not all self-care needs to be done alone or internally. You can also practice social self-care which involves connecting with others. Socialization is important for combating feelings of loneliness and isolation. Even if you’re an introvert by nature, it’s important to participate in a certain level of social self-care. The good news is, you get to choose the people you socialize with. Surround yourself with those who know you best and bring positivity and happiness into your life. There are many ways to do this and here are just a few.
- Meet a friend for lunch
- Reach out to someone you haven’t seen or spoke to in a while
- Write a letter to a long distance friend or family member
- Join a local group or committee
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger
- Remove negative people from your life
Self-Care is Not Selfish
Self-care shouldn’t be confused with being selfish. It’s a necessary part of survival. Without taking the time to check-in with yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally, you could be on the road to self-destruction. Allow yourself the grace to look inward and make the necessary changes to bring positivity into your life.
Article Submitted By Community Writer