Importance of self-care.
Day 4 of our Health and Wellbeing Fortnight and we are looking at self-care. Let’s clear up one common misconception from the get-go: Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.
If you think you’ve been hearing more about self-care now, you’re right. One indicator: According to Google Trends, the number of searches for “self-care” has more than doubled since 2015.
So, what is self-care? Self-care encourages you to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself so that you can transmit good feelings to others… While some may misconstrue self-care as selfish, it’s far from that. When you pay adequate attention to your well-being, you’re not considering your needs alone.
There are a few different categories of self-care:
- Emotional self-care, such as self-talk, weekly bubble baths, saying “no” to things that cause unnecessary stress, permitting yourself to take a pause, or setting up a weekly coffee date with a friend
- Physical self-care, such as prioritising sleep, adopting an exercise routine you can stick with, choosing healthy and nourishing foods over highly processed ones
- Spiritual self-care, such as attending a religious service, spending time in nature, meditating, incorporating regular acts of kindness into your day, or keeping a diary of the things you are grateful for.
To get started with a self-care routine, the experts we spoke with suggest:
- Determine which activities bring you joy, replenish your energy, and restore your balance.
- Start small by choosing one behaviour you’d like to incorporate into your routine in the next week.
- Build up to practising that behaviour every day for one week.
- Reflect on how you feel.
- Add in additional practices when ready.
- Get support through sharing practices from loved ones, a coach, a licensed professional (like a therapist or dietitian), or through your GP, community, or workplace.
Practising self-care doesn’t need to be a heavy lift right out of the gate. Here are a few ideas to ease you into your self-care journey:
- Start each day by paying attention to your breath for five minutes and setting intentions for the day.
- Eat breakfast.
- Reflect on what you’re grateful for each night.
- Put your phone on aeroplane mode for half an hour each night and release yourself from the flurry of notifications.
- Call a friend just to say hello.
- Take up a relaxing hobby.
- Pick a bedtime and stick to it.
Remember – You can’t pour from an empty cup.