Ever come across one of the numerous self care quotes: “Remember to take care of yourself, you can’t pour from an empty cup”?
This quote is so apt in the discussion of this topic of self care and well being.
Do you feel a pent up frustration, uninspired or unable to pin down what is going on with you? Then you should pay adequate attention to this article.
Self care is for everyone.
From the above quote, you sagree that you cannot neglect the refill process it requires to maintain yourself, and still attempt to give of yourself.
In fact, according to a data by Sanofi, people who practice the art of self care develop less susceptibility to anxiety , depression, co-morbidity, and emotional health related issues, than those who do not. Not only that, self-care cost less in terms of finance and other resources per time, than the complications yielded from neglecting it.
26% of people cite stress as the worst impact, while 24% cite sleep issues as their highest level of impact.
Are you surprised?
These impacts do not just affect the physical state, they also affect the emotional health, which in turn have effect on economic productivity.
As daunting as this information is, self-care is still a huge challenge for many people.
This article will help you see how the ‘little things’ are as important in determining your overall well being. And also how ignoring the ‘unimportant’ is a leading contributory factor to the difficulty and confusion that you often experience.
Take a look at this self-care activities mind map.
Do you see how uncomplicated and attainable self-care can be? As long as you sleep and wake up everyday, you can find a way to incorporate self-care activities into your daily life.
But it is more. Let’s throw some light.
What Exactly Is Self-Care?
Self-care, which is a self-love synonym, refers to a thought-out attention you initiate and provide for yourself, which is within your individual control and right, for attaining a well-rounded physical, emotional, mental and spiritual value and growth.
This self care definition encompasses the four categories of self care we will discuss later in this article. To place a priority on your own self-care is not selfish, as often misconstrued. Such act is an investment that does not only pay dividend to you, but also pays to everyone else around you.
Self-care is like recharging an empty battery when it is down; in order to improve and sustain its functionality.
Why Is Self Care Important?
Self Care Importance
Self-care importance is highlighted in the effective and optimal functioning of an individual. It explains that the extent to which you place premium on yourself, describes the extent to which you know your worth and are able to function in a way that affects your life positively.
When you focus on the things that provide reasonable care for your own needs, it produces a positive feeling, which is in turn, necessary for a healthy self-esteem. Overall, self-care is the best gift you can give to yourself.
- It helps you in being present for yourself in order to be present for other people
Self care provides you adequate knowledge on what it means to be compassionate towards yourself; and using that knowledge, you learn empathy in your relationship with other people, which is far more constructive than sympathy.
- Self-care provides you insight into what you need per time
When you meet a road-block in the guise of confusion or lack of productivity, a reflection or a self-care quiz can help you determine what you need to bounce back, and how.
- Prioritizing your self care helps you to focus and stay positive
When you are in vigorous health of mind and body, there is a good chance you can ward off depression and everything else that can be counter-productive to your well being.
- Self-care brings organization and optimum functionality into your life
Practicing self-care is like mastering the key to your own life. With it, you understand that the life you desire to live, is your responsibility to create. Therefore, you do what it takes to organize your life, in relation to your well being.
- It helps you to validate yourself and prune from your list, those things that over-stretches you
Often, it can be hard to focus on oneself just to avoid being the mean person. Consequently, you depend on other people for your validation and as such, is willing to do anything to keep them in your life. This is often at the detriment of your own prosperity.
Self care helps you to understand your worth and consider yourself as relevant too. This can then inspire you to prune from your list, those things or people that bring chaos into your life.
- Self-care ensures you bring to completion a task, as enthusiastic as you began
Have you ever began a task and abandoned it mid-way, often for lack of motivation or confusion on how to continue along? This is where your emotional and spiritual self-care checklist comes in handy.
At this point, you need to figure out what the real motivation for beginning that project is. If you are doing it for external validation, you might need to reassess it and find out why you need another person’s validation to thrive. This typically happens because you lack a healthy self-esteem.
Until you arrive at the true motivation, you cannot find your balance, and this will lead to utter failure. Therefore, it is important you understand that you are a priority and doing things because you desire and deserve to do it, regardless of anyone’s opinion, is a far greater motivation.
It is okay to take a break between projects and come back to it later. This will help you work within your own individualized time-frame and also help to keep you away from unhealthy competitions.
Self-doubt can also be a debilitating factor here too.
- Self care teaches you to say ‘no’ without going on a shame spiral
I’ve come to realize that the skill of saying “No,” is an art everyone who wish to lead a productive life, must learn. Saying ‘No’ helps you narrow down what is within your power to offer, and not drown yourself in an attempt to please other people.
Self care activities like establishing and maintaining a healthy boundary with other people, can teach you this art.
Categories of Self Care and Examples
Now you have an understanding of self care importance and what it entails, it’s time to discuss the categories of self care.
There are four categories of self care. Each category highlights self care ideas, using their list of examples, and these examples are handy in creating a self care checklist in order to plan the activities suitable for your needs.
Physical Self Care
This is a self care routine you engage with, in order to improve the overall well being of your physical health.
Physical Self-care ideas
- Eating healthy and consciously
- Taking a walk
- Cleaning your teeth
- Exercising- Ensure you begin small and then build up your skills and duration as you progress.
- Getting a routine medical check up
- Keeping your environment tidy
- Getting a bath as at when due
- Caring for your skin and hair
All these self care ideas can be either planned for periodic or daily attention; depending on the item. The results they produce, provide an optimistic outlook towards life.
2. Emotional Self Care
This self care strategy, is one that aids you in connecting with your authentic feeling, which in turn helps you connect with your authentic self, leading to positive relationships and good fortune.
Examples of Emotional Self-care
- Allowing yourself feel your authentic feeling
- Journaling and acknowledging your good qualities
This one is so important in the sense that it is very easy to deny your good qualities either for misplaced morality reasons or just sheer low self-esteem. Acknowledging the qualities you possess, creates a good feeling and wards off the self-defeating thought you harbor against yourself.
This will then create a balanced approach in dealing with your mistakes and building your life progress.
- Periodically write a letter to yourself, apologizing for neglect; this is especially helpful in reminding you that you must be your own best friend and cheer leader.
- Consciously countering your self-critical thoughts with your good deeds
- Making time to call friends
- Maintaining healthy boundaries with other people
- Listening to good music
3. Mental Self Care
Mental self care refers to those self care activities you practice for the purpose of building your mental agility and also create a sound mind.
One of the ways you take care of your mind is by reading books.
Although your reading should not be solely focused on self care books, it can be anything that intrigues your brain to release a connection hormone called, Oxytocin, in order to connect with, and understand yourself better and to also build your mental stamina.
Examples of Mental self-care
- Taking a course outside your area of specialty
- Reading a book
- Seeing your therapist
- Taking care of your physical needs
- Solving puzzles
- Staying away from all forms of unhealthy relationships
- Creating financial Savings
Spiritual Self Care
To maintain a spiritual self care, your focus should be on listening to your own thoughts and feelings. This will aid you in discerning and making deliberate decisions for your own well being.
Note: your spiritual activities should be primarily geared towards your well being; if it does not, you might want to review it as you progress.
At the center of your spiritual self care is your emotions. This is such that your emotions highlight your core needs, and in listening to, and taking care of those needs, you listen to your consciousness, which in turn, is your conscience.
Spiritual self care ideas
- Reflecting on your feelings and thoughts
- Raising your true mind and heart to your deity
- Communing with other people; both of shared beliefs or otherwise
- Discovering your passion and voice
- Acknowledging your authentic feeling.
Discovering your voice helps you function better; with your voice, you will operate from your natural habitat.
- Revealing your authentic self without fear of rebuttal
All these self care activities are not without challenge.
Challenges can present when there is severe burn out, which often leads to physical and emotional challenges, thereby affecting all other aspects of your self care.
Tips For Self Care
These self care tips will lead you to incorporate your goals into your daily activities using the self care plan template contained herein.
Feel free to use these tips to generate more ideas as you tailor a plan that is exclusive for your own well being.
- Create a self care night, like having a long bubble bath and reading a page or two of your book of choice, before you retire for the day.
- Create and maintain an 8-9 hours sleep routine. This helps your body and mind adjust and prepare for the upcoming activities of the day, without relapse. If you struggle with sleep, minimize your screen time 30 minutes before bed time.
- Make a plan to infuse exercise into your self care activities; either during the day, or in the evening.
- Build a self care list on how you want your daily activities to look like and stick to it. E.g. If you do not have to go shopping, deliberately take it away from your list until you need to.
- If you already suffer burnout, figure out the source of the influence; if it is work, take a break, if it is family, be deliberate with your boundaries. Understand that if your well being is absent, you are absent.
- Create a self care plan and paste it on the wall of your room or anywhere else you choose for effective reminder.
- Journal your thoughts and feelings, as much as possible: Get it off your head and into a blank space. It has a way of transforming into a vision while on a blank space.
- If physical meeting is impossible, endeavor to call a friend or member of your family, as it is convenient for you. The goal is to have and maintain a social network at intervals.
- Always maintain healthy boundaries necessary to live an orderly life.
- Create a movie time
- Decluter your work space or station: It is tricky how the mind is unable to work through anything, when the physical space is cluttered.
- Organize your wardrobe: Your personal space is a function of your mental space.
- Get some spa treatment or oily massage if you can afford it; otherwise, stick to massaging the sole of your feet.
- Book a therapy appointment
- Create some Savings: Having financial stability births a sense of focus and security, which in turn, affects the overall health positively.
Listen to music: Music is a powerful tool that takes care of the soul; especially ones with genuine self care lyrics. A few I can mention is ‘I walk on water’ by Eminem featuring Beyonce. This song describes taking charge of yourself as it is within your control.
Some of the collections by Celine Dion are songs that can bring instant restoration when you pay attention to the lyrics contained therein.
Note that these are only general examples. You can find other examples that have the lyrics capable of setting you up for wellness.
Build Your Own Life
In the beginning of this article, I highlighted the cliché quote that explains how your absence is counter-productive to your desired functionality in life.
Your self care activities determine your well being; and it is absolutely your responsibility. When you treat yourself well, you set yourself up to naturally treat other people in the same way you treat yourself.
At the heart of a self care plan, is a flourishing well being. And to give of your true self, is at the center of a thriving and healthy relationship. Life is beautiful when it is lived fully.
Are you well informed to embark on this journey? Tell us what aspect of self-care you find most intriguing or difficult.
Remember, taking one-step at a time, is the bedrock of every successful journey.