DEFINING SELF-CARE...JUST WHAT IS IT?
You hear it all. the. time…
“Self-care strategies for your busy life.”
“Self-care practices are vital for your overall wellness.”
Ugh… sometimes it seems like an overused and underdefined term, doesn’t it? Self-care. It’s great to think of getting a massage, mani/pedi or brunch with friends regularly, but not all of us are able to do that on a consistent basis; and truthfully, those types of materialistic things don’t really represent the forms of care we need most.
So, what is self-care REALLY? Self-care is, in its simplest form, is being aware of one’s needs and taking action to promote one’s general wellbeing (physical, mental, spiritual, etc.). Prioritizing one’s overall wellness so that they are able to walk through life as the healthiest, happiest and most fulfilled person they can be. As a well-cared-for person, one is better able to grow and achieve their potential.
Weekly facials might be out of reach for you at this point in your life, but here are some self-care practices that are available to everyone and are always beneficial (even more beneficial than the facial ;) ) :
Care for Your Physical Self
You are given one body to live in, and should care for it accordingly! Every person deserves a well-cared-for body, to feel as good physically as they are able. Your physical needs should be the bare minimum. Fuel your body with food, hydrate with water, get in some movement and provide for any individual physical needs (i.e. taking medication/vitamins).
To feel your best, try to get in fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins. Use vitamins to fill in the gaps (HERE are some great supplements I love *LINK TO QSCIENCES*). Move your body in a way that feels good to you. If that means tough workouts at the gym, great. But it also might mean going on a hike with a friend, taking a walk around your neighborhood or getting up and moving around your home during commercials. Taking care of your physical health is an investment in your mental health as well.
Find an Outlet
We all have stressors and tough things that affect us. Find a healthy way outlet for that energy – meditate, journal, pray, do something that helps you release what’s on your mind. Get it out. Often the world tells us to suppress big feelings with a, “suck it up, buttercup” type of outlook. But know that it’s so healthy to feel your emotions – laugh, cry, yell, be angry, get excited... Don’t mask it, experience it with an outlet. Shoving your feelings down is doing yourself a disservice. Working through it is self-care.
Fuel Your Passions
Making time for the things that you enjoy is a form of self-care as well. Just like you are only given one body, you are only given one life. Don’t only do things that you have to do, make the most of your time by doing things you want to do. It’s never too late. Read the book, take the class, join a group, start the business… set aside and prioritize the time for your passions (even if it’s a small amount of time at first). Work toward your passions and dreams.
Ask For & Accept Help
You’re not in this alone! Are you the type of person whose always “got this” on your own? Do you handle your own business always? While it’s good to be independent, also keep in mind that we all serve ourselves by serving others. So next time you need a little help – remember that the person helping you is benefitting from it as well. Self-care is allowing yourself to accept help at times. Your spouse, friend, coach, therapist, etc. The people around you are put in your life for a reason.
There are many ways to care for yourself. For each person, in each stage of life, self-care is going to look a little different, but it’s just as important for you as for anyone else. Ask yourself – what type of this kind of care are you needing most right now?
Lucie Mitchell, CTNC, CTLC