It may sound like a wishy-washy term, it did to me, alternatively, maybe you’re not convinced you should practise regular self-care? Either way, let’s break it down into simple, easy to do digest, non wishy-washy pieces.
Self-care is a broad term that encompasses just about anything positive you do to give yourself what you need. It’s knowing when your resources are running low, and stepping back to replenish them rather than letting them drain away.
It is important to note that not everything that feels good is self-care. For example, unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol and over-eating can be self-destructive, only providing temporary relief.
The difference between unhealthy coping mechanisms and self care, is self-care, (when chosen correctly for you) has long-term benefits for the mind, the body, or both.
There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to types of self care. There is no need to tackle every aspect of your life, so to help decide what you need, consider the 6 categories below.
Physical activity is vital not only for your bodily well-being but also for helping you let off steam, or conserve energy when you are already fatigued.
Examples: Taking a walk during lunch breaks, sleeping eight hours a day, staying hydrated, booking a weekly pilates class, going for a run, saying no to an invitation.
Activities that help you feel your emotions, reflect on them and then let them go.
Examples: Talking to a therapist, writing in a journal, painting, playing music, a boxing class!?
Sensory self-care is all about helping to calm your mind by
tuning into the details of the sensations all around you, making it easier to live in the present.
Consider these senses: touch, smell, sound, and sight.
Most people are more responsive to one than the others. What is that sense for you?
Examples: Sitting in the warm sunshine, listening to music with closed eyes, walking by the beach and smelling the air, having a massage.
The things you fill your mind with greatly influence your psychological well-being.
(a) Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind sharp.
Examples: doing a puzzle, learning about a subject that interests you, reading a book or watching a movie.
(b) Mental self-care also involves doing things that help you stay mentally healthy.
Example: Practising self-compassion and acceptance to help maintain a more positive inner chat, meditation or yoga, replace ‘should’ in your vocabulary.
Tasks you complete that fulfill core aspects of your life and
prevent future stressful situations.
Examples: Creating a budget, taking professional development classes, organising your personal space.
Finally, social self-care is another category that’s important for us all.
It might look different depending on whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.
Examples: coffee with a friend, or getting in touch with someone you like but haven’t seen in a while.
6 benefits of self care
Less susceptibility to stress, depression and anxiety
More motivation and productivity
Be more engaged
Increased energy to help others
Self care is not selfish. You can not fill someone else’s cup if yours is empty.
Customise! Pick what best suits you – Assess which areas of your life need some more attention and self-care. Reassess your life often. As your situation changes, your self-care needs are likely to shift too.