When was the last time you took action to promote your own well-being, above other people who you may care for on a regular basis in your life (like your children, your significant other, or your pet poodle named Spencer)?
You may have heard the term before, but what does 'self-care' actually mean? An easy way to think about this concept is that it is an intentional act done by you, for you. It can be easy to misconstrue taking care of yourself as a selfish act, but in fact, taking deliberate action to maintain or enhance our physical, emotional and mental well-being is an important part of being able to regulate our fundamental human state. Doing so can help us to handle stress better, reduce feelings of anxiety or depression, and promote an overall sense of well-being (among other benefits!).
"Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ~ Eleanor Brownn
Self-care is unique for everyone, and it's important to identify healthy strategies versus detrimental forms (such as substance use, procrastination, self-harm, or isolation). It can be helpful to slowly incorporate small ways of enhancing your well-being into your daily life, so that it can feel more natural to do something just for yourself, rather than adding another chore to your overflowing to-do list.
There are 2 main categories that a person can add self-care strategies into their lives:
Physical: diet, exercise, sleep, rest, play, touch & intimacy
Mental/Emotional: relationships, self-talk, relaxation, stress levels
What are some self-care strategies that would work for you? (Hint: Check out the examples on the handy infographic below!).
If self-care is something new for you, or perhaps you've left it on the back burner for too long, and need some help to create your own list of self-care strategies, consider connecting with a therapist who can support you in exploring the areas of your life that can benefit from creating deliberate acts of kindness for yourself.
When in doubt, one of the simplest forms of self-care is to allow yourself to laugh.. so put on that funny movie, or discover a new top 10 funny cat compilation video on YouTube and let the giggles flow. :)
You may also want to read about the benefits of journaling!
Be kind to yourself!