When I talk to my girlfriends, the topic of self care often comes up, followed by laughter and questions of “What could that be? I don’t have the time or energy at the end of the day to do anything for myself.” The demands of adulting are hard, no matter who you are and whether you have children in the picture or not. More often than not, we are the last people that we take care of. I’ve really come to learn the importance of self care over the past couple of years, and how it can be so valuable in helping me to lead a calmer, more balanced life. In turn I am able to be a better version of myself as a mom, wife, friend, daughter and employee. Having a ritual just for you, even if it’s 15 minutes a day, is vital for well being.
Caring for one’s self looks different for each individual, but the importance is within the ability to manage the demands of life, reducing stress and maintaining a sense of contentment and health both mental and physical. This means finding time and space to feed your spirit with activities that allow you to reflect, advance, unwind and relax. It can be difficult to come to the realization that YOU are just as important as anyone else you are giving time and energy to in your life.
There are several areas of self care that need nourishing, recognizing the areas that need improvement and attention will help you to create your own self care ritual to best benefit your life.
– PHYSICAL- health, nutrition, sleep, rest, exercise and physical touch
– PSYCHOLOGICAL- learning new things, practicing mindfulness and creativity, consequential thinking
– EMOTIONAL- navigating emotions, developing compassion for self and others, managing stress, increasing empathy
– SOCIAL- having a strong network of relationships you trust and can turn to when needed, nourishing relationships
– SPIRITUAL- developing spiritual awareness, incorporating beliefs and values that guide you and are important to you
– PROFESSIONAL- sharing your strengths, setting clear boundaries
– FINANCIAL- being responsible and having a conscious relationship with money
– ENVIRONMENTAL- minimize waste and monitor screen time, create a well maintained and organized work and home environment
Once you have taken into account what areas of self care need a bit of work, which is often the biggest hurdle we face, you can begin to create a program, ritual, system, time frame…. whatever works for you and your life. This ritual can be whatever you want it to be, whether that is 10 minutes a day or 3 hours a day!
As long as you are doing something that is just for you and makes you happy, and learn to do it free of any guilt. It’s time to make you a priority!
Here are some of my favourite ways to self care, it doesn’t have to be grand or expensive. Sometimes we don’t even realize it’s the little things that bring us the most happiness.
- Take a bath or shower. Apply your favourite skincare, do your hair and make up. There really is something to be said for me and the old “look good, feel good.” Of course if you feel best in a messy bun and no make-up, that is also a fantastic way to self care- take a break from that stuff!
- Write it out. Letting all the messy and overwhelming thoughts in my head out onto paper is really helpful in making me feel more grounded.
- Order in groceries or food- Taking out steps from a busy day can be just what you need to make life more manageable.
- Read a book, magazine, newspaper. Occupy your mind with something other than your own thoughts or to do lists, or simply because you enjoy it.
- Waste time. Do something mindless, take a nap, Netflix is a fave, wasting time can be such a luxury this day in age. Literally sit and do nothing if that makes you happy.
- Practice guided meditation/mindfulness. Learning to use mental blinders and focus on what is in front of you is difficult but so useful.
- Move. Take a zumba class, walk your dog, do a Youtube exercise video in your living room.
- Try one new thing a month. Whether that’s a cooking class, learning to rollerskate, exploring photography, expanding your mind can do a world of good.
- Call a friend. A chat with someone you love can lift your spirits and make you feel connected.
- Learn to say NO. Do not allow your mental energy to be stolen by things you really don’t want to do.
- Get away for a night, even if it’s a hotel in the city you live in. Get away from the daily grind.
- Declutter and organize. A tidy space can work wonders for helping you to fully relax after a long day. Cluttered space equals a cluttered mind.
Hopefully this has been a useful tool to get you started with making self care a part of your life, I love to see women (and men) learning the value of taking care of themselves.
Self care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you. -Katie Reed