What is Self-Care and How to Get Started?
Self-care is a collection of ways and methods you practise to keep yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally healthy. At the core of self-care is the idea and promotion of well-being. Common self-care goals include activities that help one de-stress, relieve tension, and feel better.
Ways to Practise Self-Care
Self-care looks different for everybody, depending on our needs, preferences, and desires. They also vary because each of us encounters different types of stress, and we face different problems in our lives. Therefore, if you are looking to practise self-care, you should go with whatever makes you most happy and whatever helps you feel the best.
1. Tips on Self-Care: Have Healthy Habits
One of the biggest ways you can practise self-care is by taking care of your physical body. This is not about reaching a certain weight or looking a certain way. It is about making sure you feel the healthiest, and that your organs are functioning as they should.
Some healthy habits you can cultivate are sleeping early, drinking enough water, and eating a balanced diet. As humans, we need enough sleep so we can rest our bodies and minds, to take on the next day. If you have ever had a bad night’s sleep, you may realise you always feel a bit on edge and grumpy. Go to bed early if you can so you can wake up each day feeling refreshed.
About 60% of the human body is water, and water is vital for our skin and our other internal organs. When we are hydrated, we look better, feel better, and we can think better. Drinking water is also an effective way for us to take more trips to the toilet – which can help us flush out any toxins in our bodies, especially when we are ill.
Finally, having a balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do for yourself if you can afford to do so. This means eating your vegetables, limiting your intake of red meat and greasy and fried foods, and eating fruits to get your vitamins. It is not strictly about portion control, but more about balance and giving your body what it needs to function properly.
2. Tips on Self-Care: Avoid and Lower Stress
For most people, this is laughable. The truth is, we live in a stressful society. Whether you are a heart surgeon, an office worker, or a stay-at-home mum, everybody will encounter stress in their daily lives. What you can do, however, is to avoid giving yourself even more stress. For some, it may mean walking away from unhealthy relationships even though it may be hard to do so or quitting a job in a toxic work environment.
Stress is built into our lives, and it is impossible to eliminate it entirely. A little stress is also good for us, as it motivates us and helps us grow. However, if you find yourself burnt out or always feeling anxious, you should take breaks and learn to say no. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but if you can, you should learn to set boundaries. Fending for yourself is not selfish, and you should not feel bad for prioritising your needs sometimes when it is needed.
Being stressed all the time can also lead to health problems. Therefore, it is important to learn how to stand up for yourself and put yourself first. Ask for what you need and let it be known that your well-being cannot be compromised. Sometimes it takes a while to drive the message across, especially if you work in a demanding workplace. However, it is necessary for your mental health.
3. Tips on Self-Care: Do Your Favourite Activities
One final way you can practise self-care is by participating in activities you enjoy doing. This includes any hobbies you have, such as hiking, running, dancing, painting, or even just spending some time with your family and friends. Do your favourite activities regularly and get into a routine and prioritise this over other things in your life.
Many of us find it easy to create excuses to skip our hobbies. Maybe you are a full-time mum, and you realise that your child needs you more than you need your free time. Maybe you are an office worker with a demanding boss who will not give you any breathing room. Wherever you are in life, you should be firm with setting time aside for yourself to relax and unwind, or you will burn out quickly.
Finally, one very good way to practise self-care is to treat yourself sometimes. Get the massage you have been wanting for months. Go for a manicure or a pedicure with your friends. Buy the skirt you want even though it is not on sale and enjoy a delicious meal at your favourite restaurant. These little things can help us feel better and realise that there is more to life than working, paying bills, and commuting.
The bottom Line
Practising self-care is vital for us to stay healthy, but it looks different for everyone. To live longer and to lead a happier life, you should take time to understand your needs, preferences, and desires, so you can make the most of your self-care journey and improve your well-being.