This post is all about self-care and why it is important.
What is self-care really? We’ve all heard about self-care being bubble baths, eating mountains of chocolate, and ignoring our phones for the day. This is a bit of a misconception, as the true definition of self-care isn’t about saying yes to every innate desire you have.
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There’s more than meets the eye for self-care, and there are many reasons why it’s important to have a self-care routine in place.
In this post, you’ll learn what self-care is and why it’s important, why self-care is not selfish, how to recognize your needs, recognize your intuition, and some self-acceptance exercises.
What Is Self-Care And Why Is It Important?
Self-care is becoming an increasingly discussed issue, as more and more people are looking for ways to cope with stress and anxiety.
Self-care is described by the World Health Organization as the ability to promote health, maintain health, prevent diseases, and cope with illness by individuals, families, or communities. It can be with the support of a healthcare provider or without.
Aspects that fall under this include seeking medical attention when needed, keeping up with hygiene, and overall nutrition. Self-care is maintaining overall wellness in your life to help you cope with stress and anxiety.
There are three different types of self-care: emotional self-care, spiritual self-care, and physical self-care.
Emotional self-care includes having coffee with friends, positive self-talk, weekly relaxation techniques like baths, saying “no,” and taking time to be alone.
Spiritual self-care includes mediation, a gratitude journal, spending time outside in your favorite places, or participating in religious activities. Physical self-care includes a proper sleep schedule, exercise, and eating a healthy diet.
The Importance of Self-Care
Self-care is important because we are constantly expected to work long hours, avoid taking days off, and consistently be productive. Whether you’re excelling at work or running your own business, there’s always work to be done.
When it comes to our personal lives, we have friends and families, houses to maintain, spouses and children, animals, and much more.
Take The Time To Recharge
We have a lot on our plates, and if we don’t take time for ourselves to recharge, it can be challenging to maintain a proper baseline. Like any machine, maintenance to keep up on the overall wellness is better at preventing a full-on breakdown than allowing it to keep running until something breaks. Taking time for ourselves helps us be our best selves.
Stop Neglecting Your Needs
When we neglect ourselves and don’t value our own alone time, we risk a whole host of negative feelings and mental health issues. Many people who have reached the negative consequences of self-neglect can experience resentment, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, burnout, and more.
Keep Your Stress Levels Low
A self-care routine is an integral part of keeping your stress levels low, increasing happiness, improving your energy levels, helping your productivity, helping you focus, and much more.
Taking care of our mental health can significantly improve our physical health as well. Stress is linked to stroke, cancer, heart disease, a lowered immune system, and more. It can also help improve confidence and self-esteem.
Self-Care Is Not Selfish
Many people feel guilty about taking time for themselves as if they’re neglecting their priorities. It’s essential to make yourself a priority as well. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t show up as your best self for others who rely on you.
Setting boundaries and saying “no” are crucial parts of self-care. Doing this for yourself may cause some people to become upset with you, but self-care is necessary.
There is a common misconception that self-care is selfish, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. Once you implement a healthier routine, you will likely be spending a bit more time on your needs, and that’s perfectly okay.
Spending an hour in the gym, taking a yoga class, preparing healthy meals, journaling, going for coffee with friends, or listening to some great audiobooks can help you achieve balance.
How Do You Recognize Your Needs?
Learning how to check in with yourself can be challenging at first if you’re not used to it, but it gets easier with practice. When you’re not practicing self-care, you may feel exhausted, stressed, depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. These feelings may feel constant, in which case, they’re a bit more challenging to recognize.
Perform Activities That Improve Your Mood
When learning to recognize your needs, you could write down a few different areas of your life you feel you need help reducing stress.
If it’s emotional, reflect on how often you’re taking time off to enjoy activities you love, how often you’re able to express your feelings, how often you spend time with yourself without distractions, comfort yourself, or the last time you took a vacation.
Create A Self-Care Checklist
There are many self-care checklists online, or you could create your own if you feel they don’t work quite right for you. You can rank how well you’re doing on a scale of one to five, which helps you recognize your needs.
Once you’re more comfortable with knowing what you require in times of stress and fatigue, you may not need your checklist anymore, and that’s wonderful. Self-care will be an evolving process.
As you try new things and grow as a person, you’ll likely mold your routine as you make progress and reach milestones.
When you can properly recognize your needs, you can adequately tend to them. You’ll have the tools available to help take care of yourself in the areas you may be lacking in at the time.
How Do You Recognize Your Intuition?
Recognizing your intuition will take some practice and will require some emotional and spiritual self-care exercises. Meditation, reflection, and spending time alone without distractions are great starts when learning to listen to your gut feeling.
First, you’ll want to listen. Taking notice of when you have gut feelings will allow you to recognize when it comes up again. Along with paying attention to yourself, you’ll need to pay attention to your environment as well. Gathering information from your surroundings can play a vital role in your intuition.
What Is A Gut Feeling And What Does It Mean?
Research suggests that your emotions and intuition live in your stomach, hence the term gut feeling. Sometimes you can physically feel it there, whether it’s a negative feeling or a positive one. When you’ve upset someone or made a mistake, you feel a pit in your stomach.
Identify Your Negative Thought Patterns
Let yourself feel all of the emotions that come up in your daily life, and work through them with self-talk or a therapist. Negative feelings can impair your intuition. When you’re in a bad place mentally, you may tend to make poor decisions compared to being in a positive mindset.
Avoid Toxic People
Keep people who lift you up close and cut out toxic people. Having negative energy around can impact your intuition. In fact, your intuition likely has been telling you who you should and shouldn’t keep in your life.
Take Time To Self-Reflect
Spending time alone with yourself and actively reflecting can help strengthen your intuition. Participating in these self-care exercises can improve your relationship with yourself, help you regulate your emotions, and learn to recognize your intuition.
Self Acceptance Exercises
Depending on how you cope with stress, there are many ways to participate in self-care. Trying several different methods will help you find out what works best for you. It can feel overwhelming to try new ways to cope with stress, but giving them a fair chance may reveal how well they work for you.
Develop A Self-Care Routine
Building a self-care routine should focus on stress relief, achieving balance in your life, and be something you can often do. It’s recommended that you participate in some form of self-care each and every day. Working towards your wellness goals every day will have you in a better place in no time.
When you are implementing these ideas, you have to make sure that any of these exercises are only improving your mental health and not contributing to its decline of it.
Emotional self-care exercises include talking to a good friend or a professional, being creative, journaling, spending time reflecting, watching a movie, napping, walking your dog, listening to music, or reading a book. The best part about self-care is that whatever works best for you is what you should be doing.
Physical self-care exercises include working out, walking, eating to fuel your body, and getting adequate sleep each night. Physical self-care also includes visiting your doctor for your check-ups, taking any prescribed medications as directed, seeing the dentist, visiting your massage therapist, talking to your therapist, and any other health care professional.
Spiritual self-care exercises include meditation, yoga, participating in religious gatherings and activities, and being mindful. Practicing mindfulness and meditating more often incrementally over time can produce significant positive long-term changes in how you view yourself and attack the stresses of everyday life.
Financial self-care exercises include being disciplined about your spending, saving more money in a separate savings account, creating a budget, investing, paying down your debt, finding a better paying job, or asking for a raise. Financial self-care is about doing what’s best for yourself financially and not necessarily impulse spending.
Social self-care exercises include seeing your family and loved ones, spending time with your favorite people and close friends, joining clubs and picking up hobbies, meeting new people, volunteering in your local community, and using social media in a healthy way.
Environmental self-care exercises include being in nature, going for walks for some fresh air, sitting and enjoying the sun, spending time outside looking up at the stars at night, reducing waste, recycling, reducing your environmental impact, and making purchases that benefit the planet rather than harm it.
Environmental self-care can also refer to your home, and keeping it neat, tidy, and clutter-free, which can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Intellectual self-care exercises include puzzles, brainteasers, trying a new activity, watching informative shows or documentaries, listening to audiobooks and podcasts that interest you or educate you, being creative, taking a new class, learning a new skill, starting a side hustle, or complete a new program.
As long as the intellectual activity promotes your happiness and doesn’t increase your “negative” stress, then these are excellent ways to build confidence and self-worth.
Occupational self-care exercises include taking extra training to get a promotion, redoing your resume, finding a better or more suitable job, going back to school, or becoming an entrepreneur.
Being your own boss can be both helpful and detrimental to your self-care routine, so implementing activities you love while maintaining a schedule can help you manage your emotions and mindset, especially when starting your own business.
Self-care is an important and necessary activity that we should all participate in each day. Learn to listen to your body and mind, analyze your needs, and participate in several activities that promote your happiness and overall health and wellbeing. Self-care is extremely individual and should be personal to you, so whatever activities you love, you’ll have an easier time sticking to a routine.