It is impossible to take care of yourself while neglecting the basics. Self care is often a stereotypical idea of splurging on skincare products or gifts for oneself. True, it may be someone’s self care routine but it may not be yours. It’s a lot simpler, yet more multifaceted than that. In order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health, self care is a selfless deliberate activity done for the benefit of our wellbeing, which comes in many forms.
Illustration by: FREEPIK
This article discusses some of the different types of self care.
Physical Self Care
Physical self care is the most basic and important form of self care that you can practice. Simple things such as brushing your teeth or taking a relaxing hot bath after a long day can be forms of physical self care. It's worth remembering that your body and mind are intimately connected. You'll think and feel better if you take care of your body. Once you’re able to practice good physical self care, you’ll then be able to adopt other forms of self care into your routine as well.
When it comes to physical self-care, ask yourself the following questions to assess whether there might be some areas you need to improve:
Are you getting sufficient sleep?
Making sure you have enough sleep is part of self care. An average adult should get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. While this may work better for others, it is also known that to become more efficient you should take rests, short breaks or even power naps during the day so that you could return to work with more energy and a clearer mind.
Is your diet fueling your body well?
It’s all about balance when it comes to eating healthy and well. Food that makes you feel nourished is vital, but so is attending to those sweet cravings from time to time. Too much of something good will eventually turn to something bad. Along with balanced meals, getting hydrated throughout the day with good old plain water is something that is often overlooked and replaced with drinks that are high in sugar. It may seem basic, but they are the small decisions that make an impact to make you feel good.
Are you taking charge of your health?
Regular health checkups are critical for disease prevention and early detection. Visiting them is one of the most straightforward ways to maintain your health. Understanding your vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature, as well as what they indicate for your health, can help you take charge of your health.
Are you getting enough exercise?
Physical activities are healthy for our bodies and our minds. It is a form of self care and may uplift your mood and clear your head. It may not be for everyone but at the most basic level of self care, a short 15 minute walk around the block is a great way to take care of your body daily. Other activities include yoga, hiking and sports. Taking care of your body in these ways can make a significant difference in your overall mental health.
Socialisation is a contributing factor to self-care. But often, one of the biggest challenges for individuals to stay connected to friends and family is the busy pace of life. Close connections are important to your well-being. There isn’t a general rule of how many hours you should devote to relationships but it is best to find out the perfect ratio for you, for your optimal social life.
To assess your social self-care, consider:
Are you getting enough face-to-face time with your friends?
The evolution of human interaction has taken a change in turn in midst of the pandemic, but a certain degree of interaction is needed that relieves you of the stressors. For most people, having face-to-face time with friends is a good way to open up socially and build relationships.
What are you doing to nurture your relationships with friends and family?
Spending quality time with your loved ones are essential to cater to your social needs. Positive communication leads to better social well being in which we should practice gratitude, learn to forgive, be compassionate and accepting of others.
What we feed our mind daily will have a response to how we present ourselves externally. Our mind and body are intertwined, meaning the way we think will greatly influence your psychological well-being. Everyone has their own way of keeping their mind sharp or a way to escape, some read books, some do puzzles and some learn about a subject that fascinates them.You might feel watching a documentary or keeping up with the latest ROMCOM helps you fuel your mind and gives you joy which is totally fine. This helps you maintain a healthier inner dialogue.
Here are a couple of questions to consider when you think about your mental self-care:
Are you making enough time for activities that mentally stimulate you?
You may be overwhelmed with the amount of work being put on your shoulders but it doesn't mean you have to neglect the activities that make your brain happy. Stimulation from the brain helps relieve stress and put you in a better mood, which brings out the best in a person when it comes to productivity.
Are you doing pro-active things to help you stay mentally healthy?
It doesn’t necessarily have to involve other people, some individuals just have to pay more attention to their own feelings. You could enjoy your alone time more than you do compared to socialising with friends.Whichever camp you fall into, alone time is good. On the flip side, spending too much time alone can have poor outcomes. Find a good balance, and remember that only you know what a good balance feels like for yourself.
Illustration by: PEXELS
Understanding your existence in a spiritual sense is a crucial component of self-care that is easily overlooked. Nurturing your spirit, however, doesn't have to involve religion. The definition of spiritual self-care is any ritual or practice that we do to further our connection with our higher self. Your higher self is who you truly are as an individual, the real you. Your higher self is you that is disassociated from, and not influenced by, the ego or fear. Rather, this self operates from a soul-centred place that is aligned with your deepest desires.
As you consider your spiritual life, ask yourself:
What questions do you ask yourself about your life and experience?
It is always good to reflect on your past self and how you could translate that to become a better individual for the future. Align your life with your values – guiding principles that give meaning to your actions and behaviours.
Are you engaging in spiritual practices that you find fulfilling?
If religion isn’t something you would like to explore, there are tons of other spiritual practices that you could find fulfilling. It could be something as simple as connecting with nature like watching the sunset and letting your toes wiggle in the grass.
Not everyone has the capability to deal with uncomfortable emotions like anger, anxiety and sadness but emotional self care may include activities that aid you in acknowledging and expressing those feelings in a safe manner. Some would prefer to set aside time for leisure activities that help you process certain information and let it sink in or others would want to talk to a partner or close friend about the topic. Bottom line is, incorporating emotional self care into your life is a key component in keeping a healthy mind.
When assessing your emotional self-care strategies, consider these questions:
Do you have healthy ways to process your emotions?
Processing emotion is easier said than done. You might prefer to just zone out and ignore those feelings, but those feelings always come back, more difficult than ever. Everyone is on their own timeline and there isn’t any rush to any mental game. It is you fighting with your own mind, telling yourself that it’s okay.
Do you incorporate activities into your life that help you feel recharged?
Activities can differ in every type of person, you would have to find yours that make you feel recharged. Some examples would be taking the time to read poetry, write stories, doodle or even watching your favourite YouTuber’s latest video. Finding a way to center yourself by finding depth in the chaos of your daily routine is a vital key in self-care.
Far too often, we don’t want to slow down because there is so much to do. Ironically, by taking time for ourselves, we gain the strength and positive energy to drive forward in high gear. Sometimes, taking a step back is all we need to feel inner balance, happiness, and peace of mind. You deserve to feel good and you are worthy of quality time for yourself and with others.