Self Care

Self-care: What, Why and How of practicing it?

Self care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting, maintaining and improving one’s own well-being and happiness.

What is self-care?

Why is self-care important?

Self care is a valid goal in itself. It’s so important to make sure we take good care of our body, mind, and soul each day, not just when we get sick.

Moreover, we must first take care of ourselves, to be able to take care of the ones we love.Remember, the oxygen mask analogy, while flying? We need to put on our oxygen mask first, to be able to help others with theirs.

The Oxygen Mask Analogy

Self care is important ….

  • to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself as it produces positive feelings and boosts your confidence and self-esteem.
  • to acknowledge to yourself, your family and the world that you are important.
  • to stay sharp, motivated and healthy.
  • to feel relaxed, calm and less stressed.
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Why do we often fail at self-care ?

Practicing self-care isn’t always easy.

Most of us either live crazy busy lives juggling home & career or have stressful jobs or at times are so consumed with technology, that we don’t give ourselves some much neededme time.

Some of us even feel guilty of taking time to take care of ourselves. We think it is selfish, self indulgent & vain ( depending on our cultural upbringing).

Remember the quote by Christopher Germer who writes, “Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves, that we would give to others. ”. So practicing self compassion is important. Changing from old habits of denial isn’t always easy, but self-care is essential for our own well being, both physical & mental.

What happens when we do not practice self- care?

When we fail to practice & do not allot time in our calendar regularly for self care, we end up irritable, stressed out and agitated.

Why self-care is important?

Understanding how stress affects our body physically & mentally is important. Stress, might show up as….

  • Headaches
  • Low energy
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Constant Fatigue

What are the 8 different types of self-care?

8 Types of Self -Care

How to apply these self-care tactics in our daily lives?

1) Physical

This includes staying active by moving our body, taking care of our health, nutrition, sleep and resting needs.

Some examples of applying physical self-care tactics into our daily life would be :

They might look superficial to begin with, but they are so essential to maintain lower levels of stress.

2) Psychological

According to popular belief , this is one of the most neglected areas of self-care that most people are lacking engagement in.

Some examples of psychological self-care tactics are :

  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Understanding it is OK , to say,”No” (to extra responsibilities in life that might lead to more stress)
  • Reading a book
  • Engaging one’s intelligence in activities that trigger curiosity & learning
  • Going out to explore a new place, or an art/ history museum
  • Learning a new skill
  • Receiving compliments from other gracefully
  • Making time for self reflection
  • Doing a digital detox
  • Paying attention to one’s own inner experiences like feelings, thoughts, attitude etc.

You might be surprised at how even doing one of these activities a couple times a week can have a positive impact on your mood.

3) Emotional

This simply means the act of allowing yourself to feel your emotions for what they are — with little to no judgement. This can be especially hard at first, but the more you do it the better you can become.Enhancing emotional literacy, navigating emotions, increasing empathy and managing stress effectively.

Some examples of emotional self-care tactics are :

  • Complimenting yourself when you look in the mirror
  • Treat yourself with things that make you happy
  • Finding things that make you smile & laugh
  • Allowing yourself to cry when you feel sad
  • Receiving unconditional love from our pets at home
  • Saying NO
  • Making time for reflecting on feelings
  • Practicing self-compassion
  • Being aware of your emotional boundaries
  • Re-reading/re-watching your favorite book or movie until you can recite every line word for word.

4) Social

This involves having a supportive group and network of relationships around you that you can trust and turn to anytime not just when you are stressed or need help .

Some examples of social self-care tactics are :

5). Spiritual

This involves practicing values and beliefs that are important to you and guide you in your life.Spiritual self-care is the act of getting in touch & listening to your inner spirit and soul. It doesn’t particularly pertain to any religion, though it is absolutely OK if that helps one to do so.It is important to embed spiritual self-care into your daily routine.

Some examples of spiritual self care tactics are :

  • contributing to causes you care about (donating money or volunteering)
  • meditating
  • spending time in nature,
  • engaging in inspirational videos or literature
  • journaling
  • Going on a retreat

6) Professional

This is important for those in the workforce or to those who are still in school.

Sharing your strengths and gifts, having clear professional boundaries and living your purpose.

Some examples of professional self-care tactics are :

  • Taking time to chat & relate with coworkers/peers
  • Balancing your work load
  • Organizing your workspace to your liking
  • Creating a calm work space for you to work in
  • Eating a nourishing lunch each day at work
  • Negotiating your needs
  • Having clear professional boundaries
  • Attending professional developing opportunities

Ultimately, when you are able to give yourself professional life balance, you are able to succeed in life because you are not stressed.

7) Environmental

This involves having a well maintained, clutter-free & organized work, area be it at business or home environment.

Some examples of environmental self-care tactics are :

  • Decluttering your home or work environment
  • Hygge
  • Monitoring technology time
  • Staying organized
  • Minimizing waste
  • Cleaning up after a meal
  • Maintaining a clean and safe living environment
  • Having a clean and well maintained mode of transport.

8) Financial

Being responsible with your finances (living expenses, income, insurance, taxes, savings etc) and having a conscious relationship with money. 

Some examples of financial self-care tactics are:

  • Knowing where your income is coming from
  • Knowing when your expenses are due and paying them on time
  • Keeping your insurances up to date
  • Completing your tax responsibilities on time
  • Spending and saving money wisely

Implementing self-care tactics can be challenging at first, but is essential for our holistic well- being both physical & mental.It is up to each one of us to apply &engage in the tactics that suits us best & makes us feel better. Ideally they say a habit is formed when practiced constantly for 21 days, so go give it a try!

Practicing self-care is essential for our well-being

What are some of the myths around it?

Self care is largely misunderstood in the society we live in today. There is a narrow and inaccurate perception of self care, that borders on self care being selfish, self indulgent and vain.This explains why we women feel guilty to mention it, and the reason why we end up feeling depleted & drained at the end of the day.

If we take time to look past these common yet damaging myths around self-care, we will realize there are so many benefits to practicing self care.We will realize that it feels good to nourish our needs.

Practicing self-care

Are you ready to practice some self-care starting today? Do you understand the importance of self care now? Do these tips & ideas on how to practice self-care inspire you? What would you add to the list above?

The long cold days of winter has already begun in our parts, what better then now to focus on giving ourselves some much needed self care.Winter is for rest & rejuvenation.

Being kind to yourself, matters! Give yourself permission to ask for help if you need it. It is always advised to seek professional help, if you are concerned about your physical or emotional well being. There is no shame in that.It is a gift, you can give yourself for beautiful tomorrows.

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Sharing some of my published posts on the topic of self-care for your interest, in the links below.

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Cathreine DePino
4 years ago

This is an excellent, informative article, Maya. You’ve given some great tips for self-care. Thanks for your perpetual wisdom!