As I spoke about in my last blog post, when you’re feeling lost, or facing a massive curve ball in life, it’s more important than ever to practice self care. Trying to navigate a challenging time is exhausting, so it makes sense to make looking after yourself a priority.
I think that there’s a lot of confusion as to the definition of self care, especially as it’s a phrase that’s thrown around a lot these days. What I do want to stress is that self care can mean different things to different people, and so doesn’t always have to include the obvious ‘pamper’ activities.
What Is Self Care?
As I’ve already hinted at, self care isn’t all about bubble baths and face masks; although it can of course include those things if you want.
Self care is any activity that preserves or benefits our mental, physical or emotional well-being. Which means you don’t have to be sat quietly in a corner to practice it either!
Self care activities that benefit your mental well-being can perhaps be best described as anything that helps to de-clutter your mind and reduce your stress levels.
As I’ve already talked about, this will look different to different people. To look after my mental well-being I prefer to do things that promote a sense of quiet. But hey, I’m an introvert and that’s just me.
Self care ideas that you can use to look after your mental well-being are reading, tidying up your home, doing a creative hobby, unplugging from social media or going for a walk.
Like the word suggests, self care for this type of well-being is anything that benefits your physical body. Although a lot of the examples that I’ll share with your may sound obvious, they are often the easiest to overlook.
Self care ideas that you can use to look after your physical well-being are staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, moving your body in a way that feels good to you, or fitting an extra portion of fruit or veg into your daily meals.
Sleep is something that I’ve been very up and down with throughout this pandemic, and I’m currently working on a routine that will help me wind down into an uninterrupted sleep.
Going through a big change can impact how we view ourselves and our place in the World around us, and practicing self care for our emotional well-being can help us explore and come to terms with that.
Self care ideas that you can use to look after your emotional well-being are journaling, meditation (you can read my beginners guide here) and making time to talk through what’s going on with a trusted friend or family member.
I’ve done all of these things to differing levels myself, and know that I still need to work on opening myself up to others more rather than carrying the burden of what I’m trying to cope with on my own.
Why Prioritise Self Care?
Being able to move forwards out of a time of big change or feeling lost takes so much energy, and you need to replenish that energy in order to keep on moving forwards into the future that you want for yourself.
I’ve found that sometimes devoting full days to self care can feel like an impossible task. Like any habit, in order for you to get into a routine with self care, you need to be able to fit in time to do it consistently.
With that in mind, I dedicate around an hour to self care each day. This is mainly made up of journaling, reading, meditation and exercising in the morning, and a soak in the bath with a book most evenings. I realise that isn’t realistic for some people, but I would definitely recommend carving out at least 10 to 15 minutes at the start and end of your day for your self care, and here’s the reasons why:
To Maintain A Healthy Relationship With Yourself (& others)
One of the great side-effects of spending time looking after your emotional well-being is that you get to know yourself better. You begin to understand what makes you tick, how you react in certain situations that isn’t serving you, and what brings you joy.
If you understand yourself it makes it that much easier to trust that the decisions you’re making are the right ones.
It Boosts Your Confidence
It makes sense that if you doing the things that attend to your well-being needs, that you’ll feel good. And when you feel good about things it boosts your confidence.
Knowing that you can navigate through a tough time mentally, (as feeling lost often is) and still show up for yourself on a daily basis, breeds a positive mindset too.
To Help Deal With Stress & Anxiety
Again, it should hopefully make sense that if you’re doing activities that benefit your mental well-being on a regular basis, you’ll feel stress and anxiety begin to melt away.
You’ll also be better equipped to deal with periods of stress and/or anxiety when they crop up again in the future. (because let’s face it, they do) Knowing that you have a toolkit of actions you can go to when you feel the overwhelm creeping in will feel empowering.
It Promotes A Sense Of Balance
By carving out time each day to take care of your self care needs means that you can take a step off the treadmill of ‘busy’ that life often becomes. I’ve been there myself, and it can be so easy to neglect your own needs when things get full on, when it fact it’s the time you should be looking after yourself most.
In doing small acts of self care on a daily basis, there begins to be a separation between the times when you’re serving others and when you’re serving yourself.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; you can’t give from an empty cup, especially when you’re trying to figure out a way to pivot through something unexpected that life has thrown at you. You need that extra energy to be able to move forwards, never mind the fact that you definitely deserve it.
Could you do with fitting more self care into your daily routine?
Featured image from Unsplash
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