Self-care involves engaging in appropriate coping skills to manage and maintain our current stability, like taking a bath, getting a massage, going for a walk, journaling, talking to a friend, using breathing techniques, stretching the body, reading, listening to music, lighting a candle or using aromatherapy. These activities are excellent ways to relax, pamper ourselves, and show ourselves some love. When we do this, we are actually sending a message to our mind and body that we matter and that we are loved. Our mind and body will respond back to us by letting go of stress, releasing pain and providing us with comfort and love. It’s a win-win!
So, why is it so difficult for us to do these simple things? Perhaps it’s the belief that doing these things for yourself is selfish. Maybe it’s because you think you don’t have enough time. Maybe you have placed more importance on taking care of others and deemed yourself less important. Whatever the reason, when we neglect our own self-care, our tank will eventually become empty. It’s important for us to replenish ourselves, replenish our energy and our other wonderful qualities, including patience, tolerance, compassion, kindness and generosity. By giving so much to others and nothing to ourselves, we can become drained and have nothing more to give to anyone.
It’s important to give to ourselves in order to continue being true to ourselves and to continue to give to others. Self-care is not selfish; it’s actually selfless, because we can’t give what we don’t have. This realization can help us overcome and release any guilt put upon ourselves or by others. Take a moment now to think of all of the possibilities for your own coping skills.
In addition to these coping skills, there is so much more that we can do to achieve greater long-term happiness, health and fulfillment. It’s not just about managing stress with coping skills, but making permanent changes to our lifestyle so that we can prevent stress and live a life more true to ourselves. Self-care means regularly taking care of ourselves, not just when we need to. True self-care means consistently taking care of ourselves in ways that help us maximize our own wellbeing.
This can mean different things for different people. Self-care can relate to staying physically healthy, which can include exercise and being active, nutrition and hydration, taking vitamins and supplements or seeking medical care when needed, etc.
Having an adequate morning and nighttime routine and sleep schedule is also important. This could include waking up and going to sleep around the same time. Before bed it’s important to engage in activities that help us relax and prepare our mind for sleep, perhaps by taking a warm shower, reading or journaling, meditating or avoiding activities that stimulate the mind and make it harder to fall asleep (watching TV, phone use or working). Think now about how you can better prepare your mind and body for sleep.
In the morning, the routine could start with a morning walk or stretch to get the blood flowing in the body, a cool shower, breakfast outside or in a well-lit area while listening to music or your favorite podcast. Take a moment to come up with a morning routine to help you be more energized and productive each day.
Besides our morning and nighttime routine, it’s important to participate in activities that we enjoy, help us grow or challenge us. Think of activities that you enjoy, like a current hobby or passion that you’d like to spend more time doing. It could be something new that you’ve never done but have always wanted to do, like learning how to paint, playing an instrument or riding horses. Perhaps it’s something that feeds your soul like volunteering for a charity you’re passionate about or something that challenges you that you have to practice and work towards like running a marathon or pursuing your education. Think now about what your activities will be.
Remind yourself often that you are worth taking care of: You are always worth taking care of. Making time for these new changes in your life, new coping skills, new routines and activities means you have to scale back on other activities and even people in your life that you have allowed to take priority over you. Remind yourself that you are just as important as everyone else in your life because now you know that taking good care of yourself means having more patience, tolerance, compassion, kindness and generosity to ultimately take better care of others.
The goal is to become the best version of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Just by taking time out for yourself, you are able to not only maximize your productivity but also enrich the lives of all the people around you. You may have already experienced that when you regularly take time to look after yourself; it helps you put your best foot forward, and you are able to react to the things that go on in your life so much more effectively. This can give you increased health, reduced stress, an improved immune system, more productivity and higher self-esteem.
SELF-CARE SATURDAY EVENTS
For more self-help talks, guided exercises and meditations check out these resources:
Free Spirit's Therapy Homework- https://www.freespiritcoaching.org/therapyhomework
Dr. Traci Moreno on Insight Timer- https://insighttimer.com/DrTraci
Free Spirit's YouTube Channel-
Spiritual Psychology Support Group Hosted by Dr Traci and Pasquale- https://youtube.com/@SpiritualPsychologySupport?si=fsAP8d-3tCkfXlXN