What is Self-Care?
Updated: Apr 3
What is self-care? This first thing that comes to many people’s minds is the equivalent of “me time” or some serene, calming experience. Often this could include doing your hair or nails, engaging in some form of physical activity, or a social outing with friends. While those are all versions of self-care, those are not the only forms of self-care. So really, what is self-care?
Self-care is an intentional thing we do to improve our mental, emotional or physical well-being. Self-care can be viewed on a continuum, from things we do once in a while to recharge, to something we do daily as part of our routine and can range in duration.
Whenever I start working with someone in therapy, I always begin with evaluating their self-care. Regardless of what brought them in, having adequate self-care is essential for maintaining progress made and improving overall well-being.
Examples of Self-Care
Exercise, yoga or engage in sports
Eat healthy foods
Getting enough sleep, including a bedtime routine
Attend medical appointments
Do things that physically make you feel good – do your nails, hair or have a skincare routine
Rest when sick or not feeling well – Listen to your body!
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Be sure to nurture that part of your personality.
Social outings with people you care about
Have engaging conversations
Alone time with your partner
Call or write to those who may be far away
Spend time in nature, maybe relaxing at a park or the beach or going for a walk or a hike
Stay true to your morals and values
Attend religious services in the setting of your choice
Recognize things that help give meaning and purpose to your life
Participate in hobbies, both existing and new, such as art, writing, gardening, photography, jigsaw puzzles, etc.
Take time off work or school
Unplug from electronics
Reach out for help and support from others
Do something relaxing such as reading, watching tv or watching a movie
Know your limits and delegate or say “no” to excessive tasks
Learn new things related to my career
Take breaks away from your workspace
Maintain a work-life balance
Make your workspace comfortable
Why is Self-Care so important?
Self-care allows us to care for ourselves, which in turn will help to reduce negative feelings such as burnout, depression, anxiety and increase positive feelings such as joy, pleasure, and motivation.
Many of us spend so much time and energy taking care of others, and often feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. In the same breath, we would tell those we care about to take the day off or go take some “me-time”. It’s time to create your own self-care plan and follow your own advice. What self-care method can you start with today?