Self-care is a buzzword that has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. Often times when people think about self-care, what comes to mind is an expensive spa day or a luxurious massage. In reality, self-care refers to any activity that we practice regularly that help us protect our wellbeing and happiness. It is about developing routines and habits that we schedule into our day-to-day life to CONSISTENTLY nurture ourselves.
What exactly is self-care?
A huge part of self-care is simply meeting our basic needs, including getting enough sleep, eating healthy and staying hydrated and exercising regularly. It also means being aware of our thoughts and finding healthy ways to relax and feel more regulated, such as starting our day with a meditation or yoga practice, taking a hot bubble bath, going for a daily walk in nature, or cuddling up under a weighted blanket with our favourite cup of tea. Other aspects of self-care include focusing on personal growth (learning a new skill, journaling, reading an interesting book) and nurturing our connection with others (joining a book club, spending time with friends, making time to support loved ones). Self-care looks different for everyone, but the important thing is that we take time to relax, focus on the present and engage in healthy activities that we enjoy!
What are some of the main benefits of self-care?
Prioritizing self-care, no matter how much or how little, ripples into other aspect of our being and has the power to nourish the body, promote positive thoughts and good vibrations, and improve our overall well-being. Practicing self-care has been proven to assist in reducing reduce anxiety and stress levels and improve our physical health by reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Taking time for self-care also builds emotional and mental resilience so we can be better equipped to cope with the inevitable challenges of daily life.
What gets in the way of prioritizing self care?
Despite the significant benefits that self-care has on our health and wellness, most of us lead incredibly busy lives and may not feel like feel like we have enough time to take care of ourselves, or we feel that we are neglecting our responsibilities or the needs of others. The average human confronts an array of modern-day stressors (overwhelming demands of motherhood, sickness, loss, depression, new jobs) that make it hard to meet even our most basic needs. When people are stressed or overwhelmed, self-care is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside, even though that’s when taking care of ourselves becomes MORE important.
Put the oxygen mask on yourself first!
We have all heard the analogy “put your oxygen mask on first”. We may instinctively think that it is selfish to prioritize ourselves, but we are truly better able to show up and care for those around us when we stop and consider how we can take care of ourselves. Though self-care looks different from one person to the next, it is essential for all of us! Whether we are navigating life’s highs or lows, it takes much more than a good night’s rest to have us feeling refreshed and recharged. Find out what self-care practices work for you – activities that calm your soul and protect your well-being – and develop the habit of making them a part of daily life. When we make time to slow down, relax and nurture ourselves, we feel healthier, more vibrant and inspired, and can better face problems when they do arise. It’s not selfish to take time for yourself, after all, “you can’t pour from an empty cup!”
Here are my 10 favorite ways to take care of myself:
- Following a mindful morning routine
- Taking extended breaks from Instagram and Facebook
- Practicing hot yoga or following a home workout
- Spending time alone and listening to a good vibes playlist
- Drinking at least 2 full tumblers of water per day (80oz)
- Journaling or gratitude practice
- Enjoying a hot cup of salted caramel cocoa or lemon ginger tea
- Spending time with my loved ones
- Following my complete nighttime skincare routine
- Taking time to slow down and read before bed