To keep up, many of us emphasise working efficiently, cutting down on sleep and being one step ahead of everyone else. While our health and well-being are pushed to the background, this is unfortunate, and in the long run, will be detrimental to our health.
To prevent this, it is essential to understand the importance of self-care and the benefits it has on our lives. After which we can start implementing self-care practices into our daily routine.
What is self-care?
According to the World Health Organization, self-care can be defined as the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, and cope with illness with or without the support of a health care provider. In other words, self-care entails taking an active role in maintaining or improving our health.
Why is self-care important?
Self-care is crucial for maintaining the well-being of one’s psychology. At times, we forsake our mental health and place focus on our daily challenges. Be it, organising lunches for the family, responding to emails or lengthy drives to and from work.
Self-care is synonymous with self-love. Once we disregard our psychological health, we can start to show signs of fatigue or unwellness. To avoid this, we can remind ourselves that we are worthy of being loved and exhibit that through regular self-care.
In addition to our psychology and mental health, self-care can also have a positive impact on the physical, social, and spiritual areas of our lives.
What are the different aspects of self-care?
Taking care of our physical bodies has been directly linked to longevity, vitality, increased energy, improved mood and higher self-esteem. It is wide-reaching and takes into account different factors. These include:
- Nutrition: Incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet and drink more water
- Exercise: 30+ minutes of aerobic exercise every day for about five days a week.
- Health: Visiting your doctor frequently for health checkups
- Sleeping: 6-8 hours of sleep each night
- Hygiene: Washing your hair, brushing your teeth regularly and wearing clean clothes. Whilst these may seem trivial, psychologists often note that they are often skipped when self-care starts to deteriorate.
Our mental health is something we should not take lightly. A healthy mind can be a home to innovation, ingenuity, and positivity. Nurturing a sound mind entails creating a healthy balance between stimulation and rest. Self-care practices that you can do to encourage psychological wellbeing are:
- Reading a thought-provoking book
- Taking a ‘mental health’ day, resting when you feel overwhelmed.
- Cleaning your surroundings
- Listening to music
- Speaking to a psychologist
Humans are social beings, which means crafting healthy relationships is part of our self-care. Having a sense of belonging to a specific community, whether that be family, religious, social groups, or close friends is essential. To foster secure social connections consider:
- Having alone time with your partner
- Hanging out with friends and family
- Removing negative people
- Joining a club or taking up a hobby
- Meeting new people
Spiritual health, although easy to overlook, is still a vital area of self-care. Even if you have no religious affiliation, promoting spiritual health is always important since it has many benefits. In particular, creating harmony within us. For spiritual self-care, we can:
- Attend a religious service
- Volunteer and assist others
- Donate our time or money to a charity
- Yoga and meditation
How to create your self-care plan?
To correctly create your self-care plan may take some trial and error. You will have to identify your psychological needs, find the best way to meet them, and make it a regular practice. For instance, if you are feeling lonely, maybe the best thing for you is to talk to a loved one, visit your friends, or share your difficulties with your psychologist. Your self-care should be tailored to your needs and daily routine. Psychologists and social workers are trained in helping people to find balance and promote self-care especially in times of stress and need.
When it comes it self-care, remind yourself that you are worthy of time, love and respect.