We see it everywhere. The words “self-care” plastered on almost every social media site, all over Pinterest, even in doctor's offices. It seems that wherever we go, self care is being advertised in some way, shape, or form. But what is self-care? Self-care is defined as an activity that we deliberately do to take care of our physical and emotional well-being. There are many ways we can practice self-care, and it can be practiced wherever we go. Self-care can be practiced in the comfort of our own homes, in parks, and even on the bus to work.
There are several different ways to practice self-care. But before you can practice, you have to decide what you want to focus on. Do you want to work on your mind, your body, or your soul? Or do you want to work on everything all at once? Here are a few ways you can practice self-care for each part of your body:
1. Your Mind
• Write 10 things you’re grateful for. If you don’t want to write all 10 at once, write 5 when you wake up and 5 before you go to bed.
• Read your favorite book, poem, blog, or a list of positive affirmations.
• Create a vision board of what you want your future to look like. What kind of job do you want? Where do you want to live? Where would your dream vacation be?
• Practice mindfulness
You might be wondering what I meant when I mentioned practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is also something we may hear a lot about but not quite know what it means or how to practice it. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing on one’s awareness in the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and emotions, and is used as a therapeutic technique. Practicing mindfulness takes time, patience, and practice. But here’s how you can start to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine:
• Set a time limit. Start small, with maybe a 2 or 5 limit timer.
• Notice your body. Focus on how it feels in this moment. Use your 5 senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing).
• Feel your breath. Focus on how it feels when it enters and leaves your body.
• Notice when your mind wanders. It will wander, and that’s okay. Acknowledge it and then bring yourself back to the present moment.
• Finally, be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge it or get frustrated that your mind is wandering. Just let it happen and bring yourself back.
2. Your Body
• Take a relaxing bath.
• Pamper yourself. Paint your nails, or make your hair look nice. When we look good we tend to feel a little better.
• Exercise. Go to the gym, or try yoga.
• Take a walk in nature. Walking in nature gives you a great opportunity to practice mindfulness as well.
• Eat a healthy meal.
3. Your Soul
• Look at positive affirmations. Buy a book full of them, write them down, and put them on your walls and mirrors. Incorporate them into your life as often as you can.
• Write 10 things that you love about yourself, or say them to yourself while looking into a mirror.
• Try meditating.
Practicing self-care is so important! Practicing self-care for your mind, body, and soul helps maintain both your emotional and physical wellness, it can help you manage stress, and it keeps you balanced. Most importantly, you should practice self-care because you are worth it. I emphasize those words because, at one point in our lives, everyone struggles with believing that. I have always struggled with believing it myself, and I still do. When you practice self-care, you are investing time into your physical and emotional well-being, and you do it because you are worthy of it. You are worthy of being kind to yourself and taking care of yourself. The most important thing to remember when you’re practicing self-care is that it’s not selfish. Investing in your physical and emotional well-being is not selfish. Taking time to focus on yourself, and only yourself, is not selfish. It shows strength and determination to become the best you that you can be. You can’t be at your best if you don’t feel like your best, but practicing self-care can help you start to feel like the best version of yourself.
As I wrap this up, I want to challenge you to practice self-care in one way or another. One day you can choose to only focus on your mind if focusing on all 3 feels too overwhelming. Or you can choose to devote 5 minutes of mindfulness in the morning and 5 minutes before bed. Whatever you decide to do, stick to it. Continue to challenge yourself by increasing the amount of time you want to practice mindfulness for, or practice self-care for all three parts of your body. Always remember that self-care is not selfish, and you are worthy of being cared for (especially by yourself).