In our stressful world, self care is sometimes hard to maintain, but it is essential. But what does self care mean? Basically it means taking care of your self across many dimensions, including the physical, the emotional and the spiritual.
On a physical level, you could consider the following:
- Healthy and sufficient food intake – make sure you eat enough healthy food, with high levels of nutrition. Avoid excessive alcohol and stay away from substances that leave your body tired and worn (drugs, cigarettes and caffeine might be some of these).
- Exercise – frequent exercise has the ability to calm you and to produce endorphins which are connected to well-being.
- Hygiene – make sure you take care of your body, thereby reducing the risk of infections and disease.
- Grooming – manicures and pedicures can go a far way to feeling relaxed and to create a sense of being taken care of.
- Massage – many forms of massage are available today that can treat your body and contribute to a sense of well-being.
What could you do on an emotional level?
- Hobbies – practice and maintain things you enjoy doing. Try out creative options, as exercising creativity is an important way to express feelings, thoughts and ideas that you're not always sure you might have.
- Friends – spend enjoyable time with friends. Cook a meal, go out for dinner, relax by the pool. The idea is to feel nurtured and replenished by the interaction.
- Therapy and counselling – enter therapy as a way of dealing with stuff that you've wanted to sort out a long time ago. We all have issues and baggage and therapy can be a great way to deal with crises or long-standing issues. It's also a great way to explore your self and to take care of yourself.
- Environmental changes – create a space in which you like to be. Paint your walls colours that soothe you, listen to music that relaxes you. Fill your space with things you feel contribute to your well-being.
- Pets – dogs and cats can bring immense joy and comfort.
- Balance – achieving balance in your life (including work, leisure, health and relationships) is a sign of good self-care
On a spiritual level – similar to emotional level – you could try out some of these:
- Meditation – for some people, this is a connection to God or to the universe; for some, it's also a way of connecting inwardly and finding some peace and quiet.
- Religion – practice your religion, if you feel it can add something to your life. It is important to have a spiritual dimension to life, which amounts to some understanding that we are not alone in the universe and that there is something beyond us.
- Nature – be in the world of animals and plants, it helps to understand that we are part of a circle of life.
Self-care is an essential part of life and can take many, many forms. We all have to find what works for us and there is no recipe. Start small and be practical. Every bit counts.