Put simply, self care involves regular actions which help to improve, protect and maintain your overall health and wellbeing. Self care isn’t an airy fairy practice or final destination for happiness, it’s a necessary combination of acts and a state of mind that will help you to be that bit more present and balanced.
To break it down for you, self care can be separated into 5 different dimensions:
Physical self-care – An activity that will impact your physical health.
Consider how well you are treating your physical health. Have you stayed up watching endless episodes of a new Netflix series and not had enough shut eye? How’s your nutrition going – are you eating a good balance of foods that will nourish your body well? There’s no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when it comes to food but let’s face it, eating the same beige meals every day isn’t going to make you feel great right? How about moving your body? Have you been active in some way today?
The little things which affect your physical wellbeing, can have a profound impact on how you feel day to day. Wearing clothes that make you feel good, getting a fresh cut or spending an evening pampering yourself can help you feel more confident and positive about your self worth.
Be kind to yourself and take a little time out every now and again to consider and improve upon your physical state, without feeling guilt or personal judgement. Focusing on a little ‘me’ time here and there or taking pride in your appearance is not a sign of vanity when it impacts your mind in a positive way.
Emotional self-care – An activity that encourages self awareness and regulation of feelings.
It can be tricky to really think about how you’re feeling and spend time reflecting upon this however, the more in tune you are to your personal thoughts, the better you will be at dealing with challenging situations and regulating the changing patterns in your emotions when these things do happen.
Ways to channel your emotions could include listening to music, writing, meditating, painting, walking or simply just talking and vocalising your emotions to someone who you feel open enough with. Talking about how I am feeling and being open about my thoughts is something I’ve learnt to do. When you open up to others, you’d be surprised how much it encourages other people to do the same.
Mental self-care – An activity that involves seeking intellectual and creative stimulation.
I’ll often put reading on the back burner when the ‘easy option’ is to scroll through Instagram or mindlessly watch an episode of something in the evenings. The fact of the matter is though, I’ve often come away from an episode thinking “well that was an epic waste of 45 mins” or, I’ve left my Instagram on a Debby downer after spending too long doing the inevitable comparison thing. Yet I’ve not once regretted picking up my book. I’ve learnt so much from reading and it gives me the headspace to go into another world, universe or time and focus on something different. Be mindful to choose an activity that benefits you in a positive way.
If reading’s not your thing you could try mind games, learning a new language, cooking, baking, playing music, practicing a skill or focusing on and improving a hobby or passion. Don’t have something that works your mind intellectually or creatively? No time like the present to try something new.
‘I BELIEVE SELF-CARE MEANS TREATING YOURSELF WITH COMPASSION, PRIORITISING YOURSELF IN YOUR OWN LIFE, AND CREATING BOUNDARIES.’ Georgie from In it for the long run
Spiritual self-care – An activity that builds an awareness and relationship with something bigger than ourselves.
Practicing religion is just one way to express spirituality. It can also be expressed through actions that impact the wider world and greater good – something like community care, volunteering or raising money for charity. Without sounding preachy, doing things for others, without expecting something in return, can actually help to improve your overall state of mind. A few selfless acts of kindness or gestures of care, no matter how small, will always have a positive effect.
Social self-care – An activity which allows you to interact with others.
Everyone needs different types and different amounts of interaction with the people around them. Some people prefer to spend more time alone or with a close, small circle of friends, whilst others thrive off the stimulation of a larger group of friends and find it difficult to be alone or in their own company for too long. The important thing is to find out what works for you and to be yourself in any social situation – Try to avoid social activities that don’t feel right for you! Those who care about you and accept you for who you are, are the people you should keep hold of in your life.
Showing yourself kindness and learning to prioritise yourself in your own life can be challenging, especially if you are used to always putting others first. I believe that you have to put yourself at the top of your To-Do-list sometimes, in order to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Learn to do more of what you love, consider your boundaries and don’t be afraid to say no from time to time.