Self-care has become a trendy buzzword in the post-Covid era but the benefits to practicing regular self-care are undeniable.
First, let’s talk about what self-care is and what it isn’t. Self-care is taking steps to address your physical and emotional health needs to the best of your ability. Self-care is not being selfish or self-indulgent.
Most of us have an overwhelming to-do list that depletes us mentally and physically. Just like a healthy diet and regular exercise, self-care is the next key to great physical and mental health.
The best part about self-care is that it includes a variety of activities that can range from exercise, yoga, hiking in nature, or bike riding, to quieter outlets like reading, meditation, prayer, or a warm bath. It really is up to you to determine what outlet is best for you.
Be Your Best Self
Self-care really boils down to this simple truth: if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t be there fully to take care of others. If you continue to drop your needs down that to-do list and you miss out on healthy meals or an activity that charges your batteries, you might just be slowing yourself down and holding up your progress over the long term. For example, a 2018 study found that medical students who regularly practiced self-care reported less stress and a better quality of life than those who didn’t.
At our core, we probably all understand that taking care of ourselves is important. We all know we should eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly — but that doesn’t always happen, especially if we have others in our lives that depend on us to take care of their needs as well. This is where it helps to really take a look at what you find enjoyable and what really provides you with energy and fulfillment.
If nothing comes to mind immediately, try a few different activities to see what works for you. If yoga or hiking isn’t your thing, maybe try something else like a Zumba workout class, drumming, or get a facial. If one thing isn’t working, don’t hesitate to move on to something else. Your version of self-care could be a regular coffee visit with friends, tennis lessons, or joining a book club. There is freedom in finding out what works best for you — your version of self-care doesn’t have to look like someone else’s.
Awareness of Personal Needs
Finding out what works best for you is really how you develop an awareness of what it is you need to refocus and find that all important balance in your life. That awareness includes your physical, mental, and emotional needs. It’s important to find activities that address all facets of the mind-body connection, and that you care for your whole self.
Proper self-care also allows you to develop resilience as you are better able to handle challenges that come your way when you are caring for your own mental and physical well-being. The anxiety and overwhelming feelings that can tumble your way throughout the day’s challenges don’t seem to have the same impact when you are maintaining your mental and physical strength through self-care.
Talk to me about different self-care ideas. I will take a complete health history and work with you to address your physical, mental, and emotional health needs, and get you started on your self-care journey!