I won’t cover every type of self-care here, but I’ll touch on the main ways we need to care for ourselves. Remember, the definition I’m using is consistently doing what’s necessary so that you can live with the highest level of well-being as possible and be the most effective you can be.
For our bodies to work efficiently, we have to take care of them. And when we do, it will have a dramatic effect on our mental and emotional health as well. Starting with our physical selfcare can give the rest of our self-care plan a boost. Think about the following topics to see where you may need to improve:• Are you getting enough quality sleep? Are you sleeping enough hours and getting enough REM sleep?
Connecting with others is key to self-care. But, it's easy to neglect our relationships when life gets busy, and relationships can be harder to maintain now with social distancing. It takes time and effort, but only you know what you need and how much.• How are you staying connected with friends and family?
The way we think and the things we take in influence our mental health. Mental self-care includes doing things that keep our minds sharp, lifelong learning – do puzzles, read books, watch inspiring movies. Mental self-care also includes self-compassion and acceptance, having a healthier inner dialogue. Mental self-care also includes resting your mind. We aren’t designed to work and focus all the time.
Some things to think about:• Do you make time for activities that make you happy?
Nurturing our spirits doesn't have to mean religion. It can include anything that helps us develop a deeper sense of meaning or connection with the universe. Spiritual self-care through meditation, religious services, praying, or another form is important.
Ask yourself:• Are your spiritual practices fulfilling?
Emotional self-care includes dealing with uncomfortable emotions – anxiety, anger, sadness. Resilience requires us to acknowledge and express our feelings on a regular basis. Talking to a partner, close friend, or a professional and participating in leisure activities that help you process your emotions are important for emotional self-care. Emotional resilience will definitely affect your mental and physical health. Not processing your emotions can lead to stagnation in a whole host of ways.
Ask yourself:• Do you process your emotions in healthy ways?
Your Self Care Kit will need to be customized for you because self-care is not a one-size-fits-all strategy.
A plan for a parent who is getting used to being online all the time for work and family connections might need to emphasize more physical activity. While a hyperactive teen might need to improve their mental or emotional self-care to process how they feel about being quarantined. And little ones might need a boost in all areas with scheduled one-on-one time with mom or dad, more veggies and water, and playtime in the yard to burn off excess energy.
Assess which areas of your life need more attention right now and reassess often. As your situation changes, your self-care needs will shift too. When you notice that you're neglecting an aspect of your life, reach in your kit (that we’re going to make) and create a new plan. Choose one small thing you can do to take better care of yourself.
When you feel like you don’t have time to do one more thing, self-care definitely needs to be a priority. Schedule it in so you don’t forget. You’ll find that regular self-care will increase your capacity to handle things that used to knock you down, making you more resilient and less prone to such severe ups and downs.Fierce Love!