September Blogs Self-Care Month
What does self-care mean to you? Does it seem to elude you? Do you feel selfish for doing it or even thinking about doing it?
Self-care is a process of taking care of oneself with behaviors that promote health and happiness as well as manage illness effectively when it occurs. All types of self-care are needed and necessary to ensure you are living at your optimum. Everyone can create an amazing daily self-care regime by choosing the best foods, drinks exercise, sleep, dental care and love.
Self-care is vital for creating resilience toward stressors in your life that you cannot eliminate. When you are taking care of your mind and body with self-care, you will be able to better manage any type of stress that pops up.
Some still view self-care as a luxury or something they must work towards in order to receive it. When self-care isn’t given priority in your life you will feel overwhelmed, tired, frustrated and burnt out, which doesn’t leave you much energy to deal with the challenges thrown at you.
Take a moment and write down some of the ways you are caring for yourself in different areas of your life:
Physical self-care is taking care of your body so it can run efficiently on all cylinders. The best part is that your mind and body are closely connected, so when you are fueling your body your mind also reaps the benefits. When you feed yourself a nutrient dense diet, your mind is energized and boosts more dopamine and serotonin, those feel-good hormones. When you exercise or move your body daily, you wake up the cells that love feeling alive and energized. When you get good quality sleep your body can regenerate its cells and be more in tune and productive each day. When you take your medications, go to doctor appointments and brush your teeth you are showing your body and mind that you truly love yourself. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are doing enough physical self-care:
Are you getting good quality sleep?
Are you eating a nutrient dense diet? (No processed foods, more leafy greens and low sugar, salt and caffeine?)
Are you meeting with your doctor and taking your medications?
Are you moving your body every day?
Social self-care is key to boosting happiness and mental health. Keeping your friendships alive and active is a great way to increase your happy hormones. Close connections are key to your well-being. Cultivating your relationships can get tough at times with everyone’s schedule but if you can put a monthly meet-up together with a group of friends or have coffee or lunch with a specific friend each week you will increase this important part of your self-care regime. Everyone will have different social needs, the key is to find what works for you and feeds your soul. Build time into your schedule to spend it with quality friends. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are including enough social self-care:
Am I meeting up with my friends on a weekly or monthly basis?
Do I reach out to my friends when I feel sad, frustrated or lonely?
What am I doing to nurture my relationships with my friends and family?
Mental self-care is the way you think and what you fill your mind with on a daily basis. Mental self-care includes how you are challenging your mind like reading books, doing puzzles or learning something new. Mental self-care also includes practicing self-love, self-compassion and creating a healthier inner dialogue. Mental self-care can also include coloring, painting, mindfulness and practicing the art of being and slowing down. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are doing enough mental self-care:
Am I making enough time for stimulating mental activities?
Am I being proactive with my art or writing?
Am I practicing slowing down and enjoying the present moment?
Spiritual self-care is another way to incorporate an overall healthier lifestyle. This doesn’t necessary mean supporting an organized religion. It can include anything that helps you create and nurture a deeper sense of meaning or connection to the Universe. A deeper connection can include daily prayer, meditation or stating mantras or affirmations. Some questions to ask yourself to make sure your spiritual self-care is being activated:
Am I living my best life and creating the best experiences?
Am I living in my purpose?
Am I engaged in my spirituality?
Am I feeling at peace with my role in the Universe?
Your emotional self-care is another important part of your self-care regime. Do you have healthy coping skills to deal with emotions and thoughts? Do you know how to move through anger, anxiety, sadness, frustration, anger and depression? Being able to reach for one of your coping strategies during these trying times can be so effective in moving you from one emotion to the next. Having a “tool-box” of strategies is a great way to keep your emotional self-care in tip top shape. Here are some questions to ask yourself to make sure your emotional self-care is being taken care of:
Do I have healthy ways to process my emotions?
Do I have a friend or therapist to reach out to when I am feeling at my lowest?
Do I do the activities in my life that make me feel good, happy and energetic?
Use the above suggestions to design your self-care plan and use it daily. Your plan will need to be customized to what works for you, what you believe and what is currently happening in your life. Look at all areas of your life and see where you may need to put more attention and self-care. Reassess on a monthly or even on a weekly basis depending on how busy your life gets. If you notice that one area is being neglected, shift and make some changes. Start off small and add on from there.
Remember, you don’t have do it all at once. Small steps will create longer resilience. It is so important to make self-care a priority. When you are caring for all areas of yourself, you will find that you are able to offer more to your family, friends and co-workers without being overwhelmed and exhausted.
I give you permission to be selfish today and do some self-care.