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For some people, the idea of self care can seem self-indulgent or selfish. There is a significant difference between being self-absorbed or narcissistic versus considered and thoughtful self-care.
Self-care is about taking good care of ourselves and our overall well-being.
That way, we are able to minimize mental and physical health issues and not cause problems at home or work or in our relationships.
Which in the long run, is also about ensuring that we can be at our best for others.
Author Audre Lorde has said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”
What is Self Care?
Over the past few years, there’s a wider acceptance that it’s not possible to do things very well, if you don’t take care of yourself first.
And it shouldn’t necessarily be considered to be a reward, rather, part of an overall balanced lifestyle.
There is a difference between avoidance and impulsive self soothing versus considered and strategic self-care.
And the difference can most often be made between a short term relief versus actions that contributes toward long term well-being.
The key here is that it’s ultimately about balance.
Why Self Care is Important.
As human beings, we have a finite amount of energy at any given time.
Self care, then, is about fuelling ourselves.
Because it’s one thing to practice self-care, but it’s also important to put that energy out into the world.
Taking time to eat nutritiously, moving regularly, and spending time with friends and loved ones can feel like “wasting time” or being unproductive.
In fact, studies have shown that taking breaks correlates to being more productive by getting refocused and being more energized.
Additionally, self care can:
• Help to manage stress more effectively.
• Reduce the possibility of burnout.
• Help to recharge and re-engage.
Self Care Can Look Like Different Things for Different People
Sure, vacations and nice nights out can be thought of as self-care, but not everyone has access to be able to do those things.
Nor, is it possible to do for everyone all the time.
It can be very basic: 30 minutes playing an online game, video game, or playing a musical instrument. Or reading, cooking, creative writing or journalling.
The key is to finding right type of self-care that works for you.
Think About Self Care as Part of a Routine
When establishing a self care routine, it’s best if it’s:
• Something that’s do-able on a daily basis
Essential Ways of Practicing Self Care
Finding balance is key and practicing self care might mean that there are a number of things that are a part of your specific routine.
They might include:
Nutrition, movement & sleep.
These are three essential areas that can get compromised especially when things are so full and busy, but without these fundamental building blocks, we can find ourselves unbalanced in our overall well-being.
Carving out dedicated time for personal self-care.
This is something that’s going to unique for everyone. Again, think about something for you that’s simple and repeatable on a daily basis.
For some people it might be a daily walk with a loved one, while for others, it can be sports or working out, or for others, it can be a daily meditation practice. It might also be a combination of things.
The important thing here is that everyone find something that’s do-able on a regular basis.
Engage in meaningful relationships. There are some experts that are calling loneliness a public health crisis. Feeling isolated and alone can increase the risk of overall health issues including more rapid cognitive decline to cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure and heart attacks.
Practicing self care doesn’t necessarily mean doing things or having to be alone.