First of all, what is self-care? It is any activity we do intentionally to take care of our emotions, thoughts, behavior, physical health, and spirituality. Self-care is critical to our mood state and is known to reduce anxiety, which in turn reduces stress. See this brief video from Jennifer Yuen, MSW, RSW, on What is Self-Care?
Self-care is not about doing things we feel we have to force ourselves into and do not like to do. Self-care builds us up; it doesn’t bring us down or seem like just another task in life that has to get done.
Even though I do not like to exercise (I would rather go dancing or ride a bike), and although I sometimes go to the gym, this is not my preferred way to take good care of myself. I like to dance, meet with friends over a relaxing lunch or dinner, read a book, etc.
So, self-care is very individualized. But it is something that needs to be planned into your daily routine, not something you only do spontaneously. You can add your preferred ways to take care of yourself into your calendar. Then follow through as though these activities were among your highest priorities…which they should be if you want to stay ahead of stress!
Loving yourself is a huge part of practicing self-care; in fact, it is perhaps the most important aspect. See Dr. Joseph Mercola’s article entitled, Be Kind and Loving to Yourself – It’s Good for You. Watch the video on tapping (EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques) to help you achieve this by Julie Shiffman, showcased in Dr. Mercola’s article.
Remember, self-care activities will likely be different for you than for anyone else. So really look deeply into your heart and soul and plan some activities that will help you stay in a great balance! Some suggestions are:
- Getting a manicure
- Read a book or magazine
- Take a leisurely walk
- Order in dinner
- Play my favorite music and dance around the house if the mood hits me
- Take a mental health day (no self-judgments please)
- Go for a leisurely drive, perhaps without a destination
- Spend time in the garden
- Go out dancing
- Take in a movie
- Eat something decadent
- Take a bubble bath
This list could be endless – just do something you really enjoy and don’t forget to keep on doing the things that relax you.
Combine self-care with education and learn about an astounding 10 different areas in which you can be taking good care of yourself by taking this course: Prevention: Holistic Strategies for Healthy Living & Avoiding Substance Use.
Remember – practicing self-care is a major part of living a healthy, holistic lifestyle. Are you ready?! Take the plunge!