Self care. Did you just roll your eyes? Are you sick of hearing that over- used word that has become such a buzz word? Does it strike a nerve with you?
Does it strike that nerve because deep down you know you should be taking better care of yourself? Or maybe you are and you just don’t get all the hype. September is self care awareness month, so before the month passes by I wanted to have a little chat with you about self care.
It truly is important to maintaining style and beauty inside and out. Like the terms mindfulness and self awareness, the word can be a bit overused but all are vital to having fulfilling lives.
What is self care?
It’s whatever you do to take care of and preserve your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being.
Self care looks different for everyone. While you might enjoy pedicures at a salon, I don’t enjoy that kind of interaction with strangers or having my feet touched. I do my own pedicures at home. Exercise is important to me and missing my workouts causes more stress than making the time to do them. Curling up at the end of the week with a good book to get lost in is something I enjoy.
You may be doing some acts of self care on a daily basis- exercise, eating healthy, drinking water, and getting enough sleep. These are basic acts we should be practicing at some level. If you aren’t, please start now.
It’s not all about acts of vanity. If visits to the hair salon, nail salon or spa make you feel good, go for it. Keeping up the outward appearance is essential for maintaining our confidence and sometimes a requirement to appear well groomed at work and other places. But what if you feel like something is still missing in your life? Remember, the physical aspect is not the only part of it. Emotional, social, and spiritual well being are essential components of self care.
Why practice personal care?
It’s imperative to being able to do everything else we want and need to do in life. You probably keep the batteries charged on your phone and other essential devices, right? Your well being should be just as critical and keeping your batteries charged should be a priority.
It’s hard for many people to put themselves first, but being able to care for others requires that we are physically and mentally capable.
The healthier we are, the more able we are to go and do for ourselves and others. Practicing self care makes us more productive. Really. You may be thinking it’s just one more thing “to do,” but when you become intentional with your time and prioritize what’s truly important, your focus improves and you become more productive.
Engaging in activities that we enjoy or that bring relaxation reduces stress levels. Reduced stress levels have a multitude of physical and emotional health benefits. Your immune system will get a boost. All of that leads back to being more productive and more able to take care of others.
Practicing self care will make you feel better– physically and emotionally. When we feel better, we are more likely to be compassionate and to want to care for others. We are more enjoyable to be around. It can ultimately make the world a better place just by making you a better you!
How to practice self care
If you’ve been neglecting some aspect of your life and you are ready to invest in yourself, but you don’t think you can put one more thing on your plate, start practicing self care with this one simple thing:
Say no! It’s okay to say no to others, to mindless activities that aren’t fulfilling and to things you don’t truly love. Saying no will likely ease some stress and free up some time.
Schedule it. Everything takes time and effort. Schedule time for exercise- a walk or a bike ride. Do these things with family or friends and take care of two aspects at once- physical and social. Use a tracker in your journal/planner or reminders on your phone if you are trying to drink more water. We schedule appointments for the services others provide, like the salon, etc. Why not schedule appointments with yourself?
Examine what you truly love to do. Perhaps the pandemic has caused you to reevaluate the things that are most important. Perhaps manicures aren’t at the top of the list anymore or you have discovered you like doing them yourself at home. Eating healthy, drinking water, getting plenty of sleep, and making healthy food choices are all just the basics of self care and should become routine parts of your day. Once those things are established, look beyond those basics and decide what you truly enjoy. Do you like crafting? reading? writing? Serving others? Schedule time to do those things.
I recently heard this phrase – “Get a toolbox, not a hammer.” I really needed that reminder. No one tool is good for everything. When it comes to self care, you need a toolbox, not just a hammer. Remember to take care of all aspects – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Some ways to practice emotional and spiritual self care:
Journaling- get your thoughts out and on paper.
Eliminate negativity– This could include thoughts, negative feeds you follow on social media, and people. Some relationships are toxic and need to be ended or held at bay.
Practice forgiveness. A good read on why some people don’t apologize and how to recognize a true apology is Why Won’t You Apologize by Harriet Lerner.
Practice your faith. Attend worship.
If you need a reminder or some physical tools to help you with self care, subscribe to a monthly subscription box. Looking forward to the arrival of a treat each month can be a perk. Cratejoy has several boxes related to self care to choose from. This Feeling Fab box has tools to address all areas- physical, emotional and spiritual. This Faithbox provides Christian devotions and goodies from Christian companies. If you are thinking ahead to holiday gifts, any of these boxes would be great gifts and a great way to encourage someone else to take care of themselves.
Lastly, get dressed. Getting dressed in an outfit that you feel good in can give you a mental boost and make you more productive. The jumpsuit above is super comfy for working at home or for going out. It’s easy to dress up or down with a kimono, denim jacket or cardigan. Pick a topper that suits your needs for the fall you are having (ours is hot, hence the kimono!) and be ready to tackle your day in an instant.
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