We’ve heard “self-care” thrown around a million times in the past year alone. It may come off as cliché at this point, however, self-care holds great importance. Everybody should regularly practice self-care. We should be actively engaging in activities that help us feel restored holistically. I know it’s been said time and time again, “I don’t have time for self-care” or “Self-care is too expensive“. But I want you to take a moment now, pause, and acknowledge your importance. How important are you? How much does your well-being matter?
I hope you were able to acknowledge: You are important to yourself. You are important to your family, your partner, your friend(s), your pet(s), your coworker(s), and the list could go on. Remember: You matter and you are important. You deserve to rest and to feel restored. So you should give yourself the time and space to take care of yourself. And no, it doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming).
What is Self-Care?
So the big question: what really is self-care even? The Anna Freud Centre described self-care as “things we do to look after our mental health”. Based on the National Institute of Mental Health practicing self-care is engaging in things “that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health”. I think all these definitions are true, and I would like to add that it is about taking care of our body, mind, and soul by taking part in stress-reduction and well-being-promoting activities regularly. I emphasize the word “regularly” because I believe self-care shouldn’t be a one-and-done event — it should be something we incorporate into our daily routine. So to preserve a good relationship with oneself, practice self-care. Our capacity to live fully, vibrantly, and on purpose is dependent on how we treat ourselves. Self-care also serves as a reminder to you and others that your needs are important and should be given priority.
“When we care for ourselves as our very own beloved—with naps, healthy food, clean sheets, a lovely cup of tea—we can begin to give in wildly generous ways to the world, from abundance.”
—Anne Lamott, author
Types of Self-Care
Self-care needs differ from one individual to another. Everyone can take a different approach to how they practice self-care. It has to do with what you need to take care of your overall well-being so that you can fulfill your obligations both personally and professionally. The various facets of self-care are listed here, along with illustrative tactics that you can implement immediately.
NOTE: The activities and suggestions below are a guide only and it is important to choose activities that are meaningful to you and your own goals
Activities that keep you in shape, provide you the energy, and help to improve your physical health:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule
- Try to eat a balanced diet
- Make time for lunch breaks
- Utilize your sick time or mental health days
- Regularly exercise
Allowing oneself to safely identify, process, and reflect on the entire emotional experience, can be done through these activities:
- Practicing mindfulness
- Engaging in affirmations; manifesting; positive self-talk
- Writing in a Journal
- Setting healthy boundaries with family, friends, and work
- Talking things through with a supportive friend or therapist
This type of self-care entails actions that support your ability to continually work at your optimal level of success. Here are some examples:
- Clean or organize your space
- Create a budget
- Join courses on professional or personal growth
Mental Health Self-Care
Activities that provide you the mental clarity and intellectual acuity to tackle life stressors you encounter on a regular basis:
- Keep a journal for reflection
- Take part in leisure activities
- Disconnect after hours, turn off your work phone and email
- Read a book
- Spend time talking to supportive friends and relatives
Spiritual Health Self-Care
You may or may not be religious, but thinking of spiritual self-care should be connected to practicing activities that have purpose and meaning.
- Reflective exercises such as meditation
- Be in nature
- Visit a church, mosque, or temple
- Try yoga
- Be of service to others; volunteering
Social Health Self-Care
We are social beings, thus having meaningful connections with others is important. Being intentional about fostering a variety of relationships is a great way to practice self-care. Here are some examples:
- Call a friend and meet-up
- Spend time with your partner, family, and children
- Attend your family’s and friends’ special events
- Join social groups based on your interests
- Play with your pet
Create your own self-care plan or download the FREE Self-Care Checklist.
- Choose at least one activity that you can use for each of the given types of self-care above. There may be some overlap, so try to choose differing activities.
- Include self-care activities that you enjoy, that promote your well-being, and that would be easy to incorporate into your schedule.
- Put your list somewhere you can see it every day. Keep it visible.
- Share it with your boss, coworkers, friends, and family so they can encourage you (and join in!). Keep to your strategy and routinely practice self-care.