Self-care is about taking care of ourselves to enable us to feel happier, calmer and to have a good and strong physical and emotional wellbeing.
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I believe that most of us are pretty good at the basics of looking after ourselves physically and practically – brushing our teeth, eating meals, showering, drinking water, taking rest and sleep, dressing warmly and doing some exercise.
These aspects of self-care are almost a given and enable us generally to function quite well.
Sometimes of course there needs to be a greater focus and a little more attention for us to feel even better or healthier, in terms of ensuring our diet is healthy, regular and balanced, that we are getting enough sleep for our bodies and mind, drinking sufficient amounts of water to keep hydrated and raising our exercise programme.
These are all key foundations for wellbeing.
There’s more that we may decide to do, from going for a massage, keeping our skin moisturized, visiting our GP and dentist regularly and as needed, going for a good haircut, wearing clothes which fit and suit us, booking a beauty treatment or keeping to a particular exercise program.
It is so important that we look after ourselves from a physical perspective. I would encourage you to list the aspects that really make a difference to your health and mood in this regard.
Let’s look now at our emotional needs.
What aspects of wellbeing from a feel-good perspective could we do to feel more confident about ourselves from the inside out?
It is well known that caring for our emotional health has its benefits.
It helps reduce illness and disease, stress and anxiety levels. It increases self-esteem, healing, and worth and improves relationships overall.
The better our self-care, the better the quality of our lives.
Therefore, we need to focus on what makes us feel good.
For professionals working in the field of supporting others; counselors, coaches, GPs and other health professionals – the better our self-care, the more ability there is to be in a position to be truly empathetic, compassionate and useful.
This moral imperative extends of course to those of us supporting others personally and at home; family members, friends in need and dealing with illness, bereavement or emotional ill health.
For the helping professional but also comparatively the helping individual, being mindful that compassion fatigue and burnout are almost a given if self-care is not applied.
Those of us with a large or enormous capacity for feeling or expressing empathy tend to be more at risk of compassion stress.
(Further Reading: What Are Empaths? 14 Empath Traits And Scientific Theories)
So, our emotional or psychological self-care needs to have a balance too.
Some positive considerations and actions may include firstly self-awareness and monitoring. We should know what is required and ensure its focus.
And then incorporate what works best for us- positive friendships, self-reflection, journaling, being mindful, meditation, mindfulness, yoga or just allowing ourselves to be in the moment, reading books for pleasure, playing with our pets, learning something new or challenging ourselves sometimes, doing something different, saying no when it is important and really connecting to our gut feelings or intuition.
The spiritual aspect of self-care can’t be underestimated either. Here, belief, finding meaning or purpose, having hope, being creative and undertaking activities of richness and joy are important considerations.
It is fair to emphasize that self-care is vital to health and well-being not just for professionals but to us all.
The balance of physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological self-care brings overall wealth, and in today’s busy and often challenging life, it is an area to really focus on.
Building time for self-care daily is vital, making it a priority to enable a happier, calmer, healthier and more contented life.
Choose what makes the biggest difference to you and focus on the activities needed.
We all need to look after ourselves, we deserve to feel the best we can.
I ask you to truly look after yourself and make a concerted effort to ensure that this is part of your daily and regular routine.
In the words of a well-known beauty brand, “You’re worth it!”.