We often talk about self-care. Its not uncommon to hear someone (maybe even your therapist) say, “it’s important to make time for self-care” “go treat yourself to some self-care today”. But what does self-care actually mean?
Many people regard self-care as being relaxing or engaging in something self-indulgent (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) however Self-care is more boarder. Self-care is any activity or time spent with the idea of increasing energy, restoring health and reducing stress. Self-care can also include processing emotional reactions to life and doing things that we might find difficult, like asking for help. Although self-care should not be something, we force ourselves to do or dread doing. It can be activities that take effort ( e.g going for a run) or might feel slightly uncomfortable (cleaning out the spare room).
We often do many self-care activities throughout the day mindlessly. Where we get the biggest impact of self-care is when we participate in these activities mindfully, being aware that its our choice to use this time in this way.
How we engage in our own self care is very personal and will differ from person to person. Self-care can be categorised into four categories:
Be active and eat well
Get enough sleep and rest
Monitor and manage your stress in positive ways
Limit the use of alcohol and other substances
Nurture and maintain your personal relationships
Connect with others to keep strong
If you have spiritual beliefs, make time for regular spiritual practice
Connect with others who share your philosophy
Connect with nature
Time for you
Make time for interests and things you enjoy
Get involved and join a group with common interests
Learn something new to help build you confidence
How much self-care we need will differ during different times of our life. Life transitions, stress and or times of uncertainty may need we need to increase our self-care. However, self-care should be something we give time to throughout our lives.