TAKE YOUR SELF CARE TO THE NEXT LEVEL
What does self care mean to you?...
Quite often when we think of self care, we come up with ideas like sleeping in an extra hour, taking time to dial out by listening to a podcast or reading a book, eating foods that bring us joy, getting a facial… the list goes on and it’s a little bit different for everyone.
All these things are self care, absolutely! In fact, anything you are doing to maintain or improve your health, is self care. However, those ideas above, while sounding amazing, are only self care on a very basic level.
When we implement this type of self care, we are giving ourselves instant gratification and temporarily relieving stress, and while this is important, it’s not necessarily addressing your actual needs. It’s more or less a very lovely, thoroughly enjoyable, short term band aid solution.
Sometimes, true self care is about doing the things you reeeaaally don’t feel like doing, to take care of your future self.
If we consider our overall health, this includes our physical, emotional and mental health. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to identify whether you could improve your self care in any areas:
How are you taking care of your physical health?
Are you staying active and getting enough movement throughout the day?
Are you getting enough sleep and rest?
Are you eating enough foods to support nutritional health?
Are you listening to your body and taking care of yourself when you’re sick?
Are you going to the dentist/doctor/physio/gynaecologist when a problem arises?
Are you identifying, expressing and accepting your emotions as they surface?
Are you nurturing your relationships and spending time with people who are important to you?
Are you also saying no and taking time out for yourself when you need it?
Have you created a community or support network for yourself?
Are you asking for support when you need it?
Are you identifying stress triggers and managing your stress effectively?
Are you stimulating and challenging your mind regularly?
Are you adopting a growth mindset?
Are you finding purpose in your professional life/career?
Are you practicing gratitude regularly?
Are you mindfully present and enjoying each moment?
Sometimes self care is about serving your immediate needs. Sometimes though, what we really need, to truly take care of ourselves when we’re feeling a bit flat, unmotivated or stressed, is to push through and get to the gym to make sure we’ve trained 3 times this week, or make the effort to cook a healthy meal for dinner after a long, tiring day when we’d really much rather indulge in takeaway!
The above is just an example, create your own categories for self care, identify your personal needs and have a plan in place for how you will ensure you are meeting them.
This article gives general advice. Our self care needs are highly individualised and ever changing. If you feel that you need to reach out to someone to talk to, or for help, please seek professional advice.