- Self-care is essential for an optimal state of well-being.
- Self-care activities encompass the body, mind and spiritual realms.
- Having self-compassion and being mindful are essential parts of self-care.
Summer seems like the perfect invitation to engage in and savor self-care activities. Self-care is about checking in with yourself to see what you need for an optimal state of being. It’s about nurturing the opportunities to slow down, be present, and have gratitude for the life you are living. Some people feel that we can never get too much self-care, while others believe that self-care rituals are luxuries. But self-care activities might be the key to our survival, especially during times of chaos when we are having trouble making sense of the universe.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is a multi-dimensional way to consciously engage in activities that promote healthy functioning. It’s about taking time away from your normal daily commitments and activities to take care of yourself. Even if you already incorporate self-care into your daily routine, it’s important to be mindful of when you’re not feeling like yourself or feeling stressed so that you can add an extra dose of self-care. If you’re not sure, consider looking at yourself from an omniscient point of view and asking, “What does that person need?”
In addition to being good for our well-being, engaging in self-care helps us cope with life’s stressors by aiding in resilience building, increasing our energy, and minimizing the chance of depression and anxiety.
Taking Care of the Body, Mind, and Spirit
Self-care involves nurturing your body, mind, and spirit. It’s about replenishing ourselves. Each person has their own idea of what self-care means to them and what activities are personally nurturing.
Taking care of your body means getting an adequate amount of sleep, being physically active, and taking care of medical needs. Just moving your body by walking 15-30 minutes a day can make all the difference in your state of being. Taking care of your body also means listening to its messages. When you’re not feeling well, consider asking yourself, “What is my body feeling now?” Perhaps your body needs rest, or maybe you’re feeling sluggish and need to move about and get the blood flowing.
In taking care of your mind, you engage in activities that keep it sharp and alert. This can include reading, watching movies, or doing puzzles. Mental self-care also involves being self-aware and knowing what brings you joy. In nurturing your mind, it’s important to practice self-compassion. This means that you take the time to treat yourself with kindness, especially when encountering challenging times. It’s about acknowledging and understanding that “this is a difficult time,” and being loving to yourself in the same way that you would offer compassion to a loved one going through a tough time. Those who are self-compassionate realize that challenges are inevitable and that we’re all imperfect. Acceptance is a large part of having self-compassion.
Spiritual self-care is about establishing a deeper connection with your higher self. This means that you engage in activities that give you a sense of meaning and purpose. You engage in activities that quiet your mind and help to calm the chaos within. Doing this honors what your heart yearns for as you are taking the steps to transform. Spiritual self-care can include activities such as practicing meditation, practicing gratitude, spending time in nature, attending meetings at spiritual centers or places of worship, and reading spiritual books and magazines.
- Be in the present moment.
- Stay connected to your breath.
- Listen to your body.
- Reflect on what brings you joy.
- Go for a walk in nature.
- Stay properly hydrated.
- Spend time in the sun.
- Engage in regular exercise.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Spend time with your pet.
- Play a musical instrument.
- Make daily meditation a habit.
- Journal your thoughts and spend time reading.
- Take a soothing bath.
Engaging in regular self-care activities can be life-changing: The key to your survival and happiness. So much of our time is spent caring for others, so perhaps now is the time to stop and parent ourselves. Shouldn’t we treat ourselves like we treat others? The rewards can prove to be enormous.
Previously Published on Psychology Today