What is self-care and why is it important for you and I? The term self care has been popping out everywhere for a few years now and I am sure you would have come across it and practicing it. If not, this is a good reminder to begin;) . According to the psychology dictionary, self care means to look after yourself in your daily activities; "the process of looking after one's self and avoiding all threats and issues that may make a person face irritable and uncomfortable circumstances". It sounds much better than, "stress casualty, attendant care or functional status" etc. Self care is important for your physical and mental wellbeing, basically, your overall health. Without self-care, your relationships with others, and yourself, can suffer tremendously. Relationship with yourself is important because that is where self-love thrives; think confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Good self-care also makes you more effective and energetic. So here are some ways you can practice self-care but not limited to:
Devote five to 10 minutes each day to a "Me time". Spend this time doing absolutely nothing or something relaxing - napping, meditation, or just having coffee / tea and enjoying the moment.
Eat and Sleep well. Good quality sleep is important for our health and wellbeing. It allows our body to rest and heal. I wrote quality because I have met people who sleep well but not the ordinary 7-8 hours a night; it could just be 4 hours but they feel refreshed after. Whatever works for you, so do not worry if you don't get the ordinary 7-8 hours sleep as long as you sleep well. If you don't seem to be getting a good quality sleep, find out what is the cause for that. Perhaps there are worries and thoughts, or the surrounding noise around you. It could be the caffeine or sugar intake in the late afternoon / evening. Then make a decision to do some changes around this. Eating well is also important, it helps you to feel good, healthy and strong. Choose fresh produce where possible, add fruits and vegetables to you diet. I am not a nutritionist and you may want to seek one for advise, but I realize the impact of processed food in my diet tend to show up in my body as bloatedness and water retention. So, be aware of what you put into your body. Remember to drink water to hydrate yourself, it is good for your skin and to flush out toxins.
Do something that you enjoy. Take care of your mental and emotional health by doing something to keep you positive. It could include activities such as sports that you enjoy, going for a spa treatment - having a massage, or DIY - salt / bubble bath, take up some lessons to learn a new hobby or academic growth. Just as long as you find joy in it.
Practice affirmations - stop the self-criticism. Accept yourself for who you are, flaws, warts and all! Everyone has them too, perhaps not the same as you; it is how you perceive it and how they perceive it. Embrace what you think is your imperfections or weaknesses because when you were created, you were created prefect, JUST AS YOU ARE! Big, short, tall, petite, round, thin, curly or straight hair, smart or wise etc. You are who you are, you are wonderfully made, you are unique, you are brilliant and you are amazing! Show kindness and compassion to yourself, because if you don't, no one else will.
Don't put yourself down. If you made a mistake, take it as a lesson and not a failure. 'I am doing the best I can and I can do better next time". I like this next part as it deals with shame, guilt and rejection. If you have a break-up with someone, do not think you are unlovable or unworthy! It could just mean that you were not suited for each other, your values and beliefs are not aligned, and perhaps you were meant to go through this relationship to learn more about yourself, your strengths and what your true needs are, AND that is OK. All of life's experiences are valuable lessons in life. Yes, even if you feel like socking that person or me right now for saying this;) YOU ARE LOVED in so many ways. Remember that.
Learn to say "no". Draw a healthy boundary for yourself. Commit yourself to less if you don't feel capable of being stretched of your time and needs. Burnout is one of the causes of overcommitting and overdoing. The physical and emotional effects can be challenging - fatigue, depression, anxiety, immunity disorder, getting angry easily, discouraged and unmotivated, the sign varies for each person. Make sure you have time to recharge if you are doing a lot - it could just be taking time out to be alone, or it could be hanging out with family and friends, bonding over laughter and connection.
Spend less time on social media. What you see on social media is often times not the truth. Those happy faces, beautiful clothes etc, don't be fooled by them. It is only captured at that moment but we do not know the narratives that go behind each scene or face that you see. Wish them well if nothing else. I realized that when we are weak emotionally, we tend to feel sorry and go into a self-pity stance when we look at all those beautiful posts. Don't do that to yourself, do not hurt yourself more than you already have. Go back to no. 4 and 5 above, and practice your personal affirmations. You alone know what you need to hear to feel safe, to feel loved, to feel peace, to feel joy.
Taking care of yourself is part of respecting and loving yourself. If you do not love and respect yourself, do not expect someone else to do the same with you. I know there are those do not agree to self love or self care because they are not worthy of, saint or savior mentality - the need to suffer, the cause of being a narcissist (be open to feedback from others and be aware of your behavior. If you are unsure, I think you are quite alright, because a narcissist will not think twice about their behavior or the need to change for the better.). Be open also to talking to a therapist if you need any help or guidance. That is part of self care too. Remember, you are worthy, and you are loved beyond measure!