This month we have been celebrating you and focusing on taking care of yourself. The words self-care have been thrown around a lot lately, and obviously, we are no exception. Even though this is everywhere we are glad to see people retreating from the culture of busy and realizing that finding time for ourselves is vital to living a happy and fulfilling life. But what does Self-Care actually mean? Is it taking a bath, getting a massage and finding me time?
Self-Care – activities and practices we engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and enhance our well-being.
Let’s start with the word regular here. These are practices we need to schedule into our days often, rather than just once in a while. Ultimately, self-care is about finding something that you can do on a regular basis to make you feel comfortable and relaxed away from the pressure of your to-do list. What is also important to note is that there are so many different ways to take care of yourself. While certain practices may work for others, you may find that they don’t work for you. We have been presenting ideas each day in our social media to help you become conscious of some practices. As you can imagine, there are endless possibilities for your self-care practice, and one way to look at it is by splitting self-care into five different elements that make for a well-rounded approach.
The five different elements include physical, intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional aspects. Incorporating some or at least one activity in each element means you’ll be nourishing every aspect in your life and ultimately getting better at self-care. I like to always say that life is not really about balance, it’s more about harmony. So you may focus more on one element at a time, but be sure to come back to the others.
The physical element of self-care encompasses safety, health, nutrition, movement, physical touch, and sexual needs. When you practice activities for your physical well-being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self-esteem – plus, you’ll feel like most irresistible person on the planet.
Examples of Physical Self-Care:
- Trying a new workout
- Taking an Epsom bath or long shower
- Eating nourishing foods
- Getting extra sleep
- Laughing out loud
The desire to learn new concepts and expand your knowledge contributes positively to your overall well-being. Intellectual self-care is about finding the balance between stimulating your mind and giving your mind a break, and this can help with creativity, innovation, and continual learning. I’m a big advocate for personal growth, but I greatly appreciate the opportunity to switch off and let my brain rest for a while.
Examples of Intellectual Self-Care:
- Reading a book
- Taking or teaching a class
- Listening to music
- Taking a Media Detox Challenge
Social connection is another important element of self-care, even though most people associate self-care with themselves (because, duh, it has the word self in it). But social connection helps create a sense of belonging and acceptance, which we humans need, and it allows us to create and share a common bond with others.
Examples of Social Self-Care:
- Going to a workout class
- Walking with friends
- Working at a coffee shop
- Organizing a family dinner
- Reaching out to a new person
The spiritual element of self-care involves a personal practice that allows you to follow the values and beliefs that give you purpose. Dedicating time to this element can help you find more meaning in life, develop a sense of belonging, and find a connection to something greater than oneself. Even if you’re not religious, it’s still important to make a connection with the spiritual dimension somehow.
Examples of Spiritual Self-Care:
- Going on a nature walk
- Attending a religious service
- Squeezing in a yoga practice
- Volunteering with a local organization
- Trying meditation or another mindfulness practice
Tapping into the emotional self-care element helps us understand ourselves more, cope with challenges, and develop and nourish healthy relationships. When we tend to our emotional needs, we cultivate a greater sense of compassion, kindness, and love for ourselves and others.
Examples of Emotional Self-Care:
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Diffusing essential oils
- Saying no
- Writing yourself a letter
- Connecting with a friend
Putting it into practice
Now that you’ve learned all about the elements of self-care, think about how you might start to incorporate them into your regular routine. Maybe it’s walking with a friend on your lunch break, reading a book before bed, or trying out some positive affirmations in the morning. Just think about what you would find fun or relaxing and make a conscious effort to do more of it!