What is self-care?
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it sounds simple enough, in theory, it’s something we very often overlook as life gets in the way. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with yourself and others.
Although self-care means different things to different people, having a checklist can be really beneficial:
- How about creating a “no” list, with things you know you don’t like or you no longer want to do. Examples might include: Not checking emails at night, not attending gatherings you don’t like, not answering your phone during lunch/dinner- as what you want is important to look at it this way would you force some to do something they didn’t want to do?
- Promote a nutritious, healthy diet. You cant run a car on no fuel, can you?
- Get enough sleep. Adults usually need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation is not good and this can definitely impair mood and thought processes
- Exercise. In contrast to what many people think, exercise is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health. It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy. In line with the self-care conditions, what’s important is that you choose a form of exercise that you like! I am a big believer that physical health impacts mental health.
- Follow-up with medical care. It is not unusual to put off checkups or visits to the doctor. This is to also eliminate and medical issues that may be impacting your mental health for instance hormone changes can impact mood
- Use relaxation mindfulness and meditation exercises and/or practice meditation. You can do these exercises at any time of the day. There are apps and worksheets that we as therapists provide
- Spend enough time with your loved ones. This can build on confidence and self-esteem
- Do at least one pleasurable activity every day; from going to the cinema, to cooking or meeting with friends. If you’re creative maybe painting, pottery, knitting or even something as simple as singing this all adds to endorphin release
- Look for opportunities to laugh! They do say laughter is the best medicine
- Set up a 15-day self-care routine and see how you feel before and after. And never forget: As with everything, self-care takes practice!
Also remember YOU’RE IMPORTANT TOO!