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SELF-CARE FOR BEGINNERS

Uncategorized Jun 27, 2020

I used to neglect my self-care for long periods of time.  Don’t get me wrong.  I took care of the basics like eating, bathing and sleeping but not a whole lot more.  Looking back, it never crossed my mind that self-care should be a priority in my life.  

Taking care of others?  Yes.  

Taking care of myself?  Not so much. 

Fortunately, those days of self-neglect came to an end.  Now, I consider self-care to be extremely important and key to my overall wellbeing. 

Where do you fall on the self-care spectrum?  Are you a neglecter, an overachiever or somewhere in between? 

 

TAKE THE QUIZ…

Questions:

  1. Self-care is all about pedicures and bubble baths.
    True
    False
  2. Self-care is impossible to fit into a busy schedule.
    True
    False
  3. Self-care activities are very expensive.
    True
    False
  4. Self-care is less important than caring for others.
    True
    False
  5. Self-care activities focus on your physical attractiveness.
    True
    False

 

Answers:

  1. False.  While pedicures and bubble baths are wonderful ways to pamper yourself, there is so much more to taking care of yourself.
  2. False.  Many self-care activities don’t require a lot of time and can be added to your current routines.
  3. False.  There are tons of beneficial self-care activities that you can do that don’t cost a thing.
  4. False.  If you do not take care of yourself, you do not have as much to offer to anyone else.  
  5. False.  A common misconception with self-care is that it’s all about the outer self and appearances.

 

WHAT IS REAL SELF-CARE?

Now that we have gone over what self-care isn’t, let’s discuss what it really is.  

Self-care can be simply defined as the practice of intentionally taking care of your own wellbeing.  This is a simple concept, but something that we often overlook.  

These days when the word “self-care” is a popular marketing term (selling everything from facial masks, blankets, candles, books, jewelry, etc.), it is so hard to know what self-care really is.   

It’s not just a superficial, frivolous thing.  It is sustainable and intentional and goes way beyond manicures, spa days and drinking good wine.  Those things are wonderful, but they are very short-lived and don’t go deep into maintaining your total wellbeing, which is the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy.

For self-care to be effective it should improve or maintain an aspect of your health and lead to sense of being well taken care of.  

 

YOU ARE IN CHARGE!

How many of you think that it is someone else’s job to take care of you?  Maybe it’s your partner’s job to make you feel loved.  Your kid’s job to make you feel fulfilled.  The employer’s job to make you feel important.  Your friend’s job to make you feel special.

I used to believe all of those statements before I realized that those responsibilities actually belong to me. As the constant in my life, I needed to get serious about taking care of myself on a deep, personal level so that I can actually thrive like I describe in my “Word of the Year – Thrive!” post.

 

TYPES OF SELF-CARE:

Below are the types of self-care that are most important to me at this time.  

  • Emotional Self-Care
    Emotions are states of mind that result from circumstances, moods or relationships with others.  So, in other words, it’s how you feel in reaction to a situation.  Most emotions are automatic responses, but they can be managed.    
  • Physical Self-Care
    Physical self-care involves activities that improve the condition of your body’s anatomy and its physiological systems.  This is what typically comes to mind when discussing health and wellness.         
  • Social Self-Care
    Everyone has a need to interact with others.  For some this need is very low, and in others it is very high.  Most of us fall somewhere in between.  Social self-care involves the activities we do to fulfill this basic human necessity.  
  • Spiritual Self-Care
    This is the practice of nurturing a relationship with God and/or seeking answers to the deeper meaning of your life.  We need spiritual self-care to deepen our connection with our true self and the foundation of our being.    

 

WHY IS SELF-CARE IMPORTANT?

Taking care of yourself is the best way to ensure that your needs and wants are being met.  Regular and effective self-care boosts your health and wellbeing in ways that external sources of care cannot. This is because you have intimate knowledge of what you need emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually.     

Good self-care restores the mind, body and soul.  It is also a great way to prevent or manage stress and its harmful effects on the mind and body.  Certain self-care activities can improve your mood, prevent burnout, build resiliency and reduce anxiety.  Taking care of yourself can also lead to having a body that is in its best possible condition. 

I’d also say that taking care of yourself reminds you that you are important and worthy of the care and attention that you devote to your wellness. 

 

HOW TO BEGIN YOUR SELF-CARE PROGRAM…

So now that you have decided to take better care of yourself, where do you begin?  

I’d say that you should start with the basics.  Make sure that you are eating healthy, staying hydrated, exercising and getting enough sleep so that your body gets what it needs.

Then get creative and take time to learn about yourself and what else you need and/or want when it comes to your wellness priorities.  This self-discovery and exploration phase may take a few moments or a few weeks, but it is important to determine where you are with taking care of yourself and where you would like to be.  Do you need to connect with friends on a regular basis?  Lose weight?  Pamper yourself? 

After you decide what areas you want to improve, determine the activities that make you feel cared for.  Call your best friend on Saturdays.  Start your weight loss journey.  Make an appointment for a spa treatment.  The list of self-care activities is endless. 

Creating self-care routines will help build these activities into your lifestyle.  Another way to help get into the self-care habit is finding a partner who is also on a similar journey so that you can support each other.   

Just remember that you are the authority on you.  Self-care should be flexible and responsive to your changing needs. 

 

MY FAVORITE SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES:

  • Writing in my journal is one of my favorite activities because it forces me to reflect on my life and get burdens off of my chest.
  • I love to manage stress by clearing my mind with meditation that promotes inner peace and promotes mindfulness.
  • Feeling connected with others is very important to me and I try to plan one or two activities with friends each week.
  • I find that writing and reciting affirmations helps me focus on my desired state of being and meets my need for having a vision for my life.
  • An orderly environment also calms me, so I make sure that my home and personal living spaces are clean and clutter-free.
  • Self-improvement is huge to me so reading personal development books is an activity that I do on a regular basis to care for myself.
  • I also discovered that expressing gratitude does wonders for my soul and perspective, so I created a list of blessings that I add to daily.  
  • My personality thrives on reaching for new levels of success, so setting, reviewing and achieving goals is part of my self-care plan.
  • I also find that focusing on inspirational content (videos, music, social media, etc.) is very helpful in lifting my spirits and keeping me positive.
  • And finally, I enjoy making sure that my desire to feel pampered is taken care of by getting regular manicures, pedicures, facials and massages.

 

TEN MORE SELF-CARE IDEAS:

  • Exercise your body in a way that you find enjoyable.
  • Collect healthy recipes and try them on a regular basis.
  • Engage in a hobby that enriches your life and gives satisfaction.
  • Talk to yourself in an encouraging and loving manner.
  • Occupy your mind with intellectually stimulating activities.
  • Schedule and keep your preventative health appointments. 
  • Eliminate your need for expecting perfection of yourself.
  • Give your body adequate rest in order to restore balance.
  • Make sure that you laugh and have fun on a regular basis.
  • Create a budget so that you can reduce financial stress.

 

PLEASE SHARE!

What are your favorite self-care activities?  Please share them in the comments so that we can keep the conversation going.  

By Brook Mayborne

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