Treating yourself to a chocolate fudge brownie sundae or spending the whole weekend watching rom-coms might be rewarding, for a brief moment. But ask yourself: will it bring you long-term happiness and support your overall well-being, or is it just a quick fix that will ultimately lead to self-loathing? Today, we're talking about self-care, and how it helps you choose what’s right and best for the future you.
Why Self-Care Is Important?
Self-care refers to anything that helps you take good care of your body, mind, and spirit – be it a solitary walk, a bubble bath, or a hearty meal. Many people – myself included – find it hard to allocate time for regular self-care practices, especially when we're burdened by our commitments towards our job, spouse, or kids. Truth is that you deserve to take care of yourself, and by doing so, you get the energy and resilience to care for others and tackle life's challenges. Also, if you're a mother, it also helps you set a good example for your children by helping them establish healthy habits of their own.
8 Levels of Self-Care
Jane Taylor of Habits for Well-being breaks self-care into 8 different levels:
1. Physical Self-Care: This means getting enough sleep, movement, and healthy nutrition.
2. Psychological Self-Care: It's about learning new things, practicing mindfulness, and exploring your creativity.
3. Emotional Self-Care: It starts by taking steps to manage your stress while developing compassion for yourself and others.
4. Social Self-Care: Maintaining healthy social relationships is part of caring for yourself too, even if you just have one or two really good friends – people that you can trust and confide in.
5. Financial Self-Care: You may not think of controlling your spendings as “self-care,” but avoiding living outside your means is actually a great way of taking care of yourself!
6. Spiritual Self-Care: Some call it “spirituality”, others “religion" or "faith". Whatever you call it, this is the level where you connect with something greater than yourself.
7. Environmental Self-Care: Your immediate environment has a big impact on how you feel. When you practice environmental self-care, you rid your home and office of clutter, which creates a peaceful setting.
8. Professional Self-Care: It’s about living your purpose, and sharing your strengths and gifts with the world.
Hopefully thinking of self-care in these broad terms will help you to see that even when you’re doing mundane things, like picking up around the house or balancing your checkbook, you’re actually practicing self-care! Of course, you also want to throw some truly enjoyable things in there, like losing yourself in a good book or going for a hike. Just remember, there’s no pressure to master all eight of these levels at once!
7 Tips for Self-Care
So how do you start taking better care of yourself? Here are 7 of my favorite ways, inspired by Psychology Today:
Get Enough Sleep. Sleep affects your body and your emotional well-being too. Prioritize it.
Get Moving. Exercising helps you reduce anxiety and boost your mood.
Learn to Say No. It’s okay to say no to more work or chores when you’re close to burnout. It takes practice, but you can learn to say no to others and yes to self-care.
Go Out. Nature heals -- get into it.
Declutter. Getting things organized goes a long way towards freeing up your mental space.
Schedule a Date with Yourself. If you wait until everyone else’s needs are met, you’ll never have time to meet your own. Schedule your self-care time, and be fierce about guarding it.
Eat Right. Your food is your fuel and may be the number one contributor to whether you age well or poorly.
Give it a thought, and share with us your biggest self-care challenges and/or achievements!
Till the next read, take care of yourself!
This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.