What is self care?
Self-care is anything we do to take care of ourselves, whether it’s our emotional self, mental self, physical self, or spiritual self – it’s a concept that is very important. Living a balanced life means we don’t help others more than we help ourselves. When you’re on a plane the first thing they tell you is to grab the air mask and put it on yourself first because you can’t help someone else unless you help yourself first.
What isn’t self-care?
Self-care is not self medicating or a selfish act that leaves your life out of balance. Self-care is not something that is forced or something that you don’t enjoy doing or something that someone else wants you to do.
Here are three keys to making sure that what you’re doing is self-care:
- Is it something you love to do? Self-care should be about doing things that leave you feeling recharged, rejuvenated and relaxed.
- Is it something you have actively planned for yourself? Self-care is an active choice. It’s not something that just happens. Make time in your calendar every week to do something for yourself.
- Is it something that you are focused on? If you don’t see it as self-care, it won’t work. Be aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it, how it feels and what the outcomes are. Make sure that you’re disconnected from your phone while you’re doing it. Make sure that you’re able to focus entirely on yourself during this time.
Here are some things you can do for self-care:
- Look for opportunities to laugh – watch a funny movie, listen to a funny podcast, have a friend over that you know makes you laugh…
- Spend time with your loved ones – carve time out for family.
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise – go for a walk.
- Practice meditation – there are lots of apps out there that can help you do it easily.
- Have a routine every morning- wake up, do stretches, have your coffee, sit outside and listen to the birds, say affirmations etc. and do it every day.
- Draw or color – I enjoy adult coloring books!
- Watch cartoons – cartoons or shows from your childhood can help bring back happy memories and leave you feeling a sense of comfort.
- Swim – swimming is not only great exercise, but being in the water can be therapeutic.
- Clean – Remember, it has to make you feel relaxed not be a chore.
- Listen to music
- Practice an art form – painting, photography or a diy project can be a great tool for self care
- Get a massage
- Get a manicure or pedicure
- Read a book or listen to an audiobook
Making self care a priority is the best way to increase productivity, better your sleep, reduce anxiety and just feel plain good about yourself! Do it today!
Amanda Pratt, LCSW
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