Recently, a friend of mine asked me what I did for self-care and I told her a few things that I do. She then asked me to explain what exactly self-care was because the things I told her I did for me, did not necessarily resonate with her. She was still confused about what she needed to do to practice self-care for herself.
What is self-care?
Self-care is different for every person. It is anything you do for yourself that helps you to maintain a healthy life: physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is not something we force ourselves to do or don’t enjoy. It’s any activity we do that helps us to take care of ourselves away from responsibilities.
Now that doesn’t mean we’re selfish and totally ignore those responsibilities. Work needs to be done, kids need to be fed, bills need to be paid and all that other stuff. But we have to take time away from the hustle and bustle of daily activities and find time for ourselves in order to decompress, destress, and reboot. When we neglect ourselves it is more difficult to take care of those that rely on us.
We need to treat ourselves in the same manner we would a friend. You might have a good opinion of yourself but you’re not treating you well, as in your behaviors are causing you stress or harm. Have you ever pushed yourself past the point of your boundaries physically or mentally? This is what can cause the stress and exhaustion.
Self-care is not just a concept. It’s the behaviors of how we treat ourselves in order for us to have a healthy balanced life.
When do you need self-care?
Do you find yourself doing more than you usually do, or finding yourself overwhelmed, stressed, and not enjoying things or people that you used to enjoy? That’s a sign you require some much needed you time. It’s time to focus on activities that will get you back to a healthy balanced life. This is your time to get to know yourself better and give your body and brain a rest from the stressors of the day.
What activities should I do?
Any activity you do should be bring you joy. And remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy. Sometimes, the simpler, the better. Find something that will bring a smile to your face, that one thing you look forward to doing and all day you keep saying to yourself, I can’t wait until I get to go and do…
The activities are different for every person. The friend I referenced above found going for a drive with no destination was her go to activity. For me, it’s a nice walk outside with no distractions. Different days will bring the need for different things for you to do. Brainstorm things that will help you and don’t worry about what others do. Remember, there is only one you so take the time to care and love yourself.
Self-care is a deliberate choice to gift yourself with people, places, things, events, and opportunities that recharge our personal battery and promote whole health – body, mind, and spirit – Laurie Buchanan
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