A guide to self care.

As it turns out, there are many different practices. Not all of them suit everyone. This guide will take you through the reasons why you need at least some sort of self-care in your routine & specific changes you need to make.

So, what is self-care, and why is it so important? Self-care is a popular topic these days. Always mentioned e.g self-help books, magazine articles and yet don’t have a clear sense of how you’re supposed to add it to your life. It may seem wishy-washy or vague to you. Alternatively, maybe you aren’t convinced that you should practice regular self-care. Maybe you think your resources are better saved for working and for looking after others.

Maintaining self care involves integrating self compassion into your life in a way that helps to prevent a burnout.

However it’s important to note that not everything that feels good is self-care. We can all be tempted to use unhealthy coping mechanisms…self-destructive activities help us to regulate challenging emotions, but the relief is only temporary. The difference between unhealthy coping mechanisms and self-care activities is that the latter is uncontroversially good for you. When practiced correctly, self-care has long-term benefit for the mind, the body, or both. So there’s countless benefits of self care which include

Better productivity. When you learn how to say “no” to things that over-extend you and start making time for things that matter more, you slow life down in a wonderful way. 

Better physical health. With better self-care often comes fewer colds, cases of flu and upset stomachs. Less stress and a better immune system can surely help you feel more physically able and strong inside and out.

Enhanced self-esteem. When you devote time that’s only about being good to yourself and meeting your own needs, you send a positive message to your subconscious. Treat yourself like you matter and have value;discouraging self doubt and your critical inner voice.

Increased self-knowledge. Practicing self-care requires thinking about what you really love to do. The exercise of figuring out what makes you feel inspired can help you understand yourself a lot better. Sometimes, this could even spark a change in career or abandoned hobbies.

More to give. When you’re good to yourself, you might think you’re being selfish. In truth, self-care gives you the resources you need to be compassionate to others as well.

A main excuse people will make for ignoring articles about self-care is that they just don’t have time. Truth is, there’s many different self-care practices, and none of them are especially difficult or require a lot of planning. Just try find some that you genuinely enjoy and that fit with your life and values. 

Here are the five main categories of self-care, along with explanations of how they help you.

Sensory Self-Care Ideas

  • Cuddling up under a soft blanket.
  • Going to the countryside and focusing on the smell of the air.
  • Watching the flames of a candle or a fire.
  • Feeling the water on your skin during a hot bath or shower.
  • Focusing on the movements of your own breath
  • Lying down and listening to music with your eyes closed.
  • Sitting in the heat of the afternoon sun.
  • Having a small square of the most delicious chocolate.
  • Walking barefoot in the grass.
  • Having a massage with essential oils.
  • Holding a pet in your arms.

Spiritual Self-Care Ideas

  • Keep up a daily meditation or mindfulness practice.
  • Walk in nature and reflecting on the beauty around you.
  • Make a daily list of 5-10 things that make you feel grateful
  • Be creative, whether through art, music, writing or something else entirely.
  • Make a list of 5-10 things that make you feel alive, then ask yourself how you can better incorporate these things into your life.
  • Say affirmations to ground your sense of self and purpose.
  • Go on a trip with the sole purpose of photographing things that inspire you.

Physical Self-Care Ideas

  • Dance to your favorite songs
  • Do yoga. Even if you’ve never tried it, there are poses that are perfect for beginners
  • Join a class and learn a new sport.
  • Go running with your dog… or friends.
  • Cycle through the countryside.
  • Simply go for a walk.

Social Self-Care Ideas

  • Make a date to have lunch or dinner with a great friend.
  • Write an email to someone who lives far away, but who you miss.
  • Reach out to someone you like but haven’t seen in a while.
  • Stay away with those who undermine or disempower you.
  • Have a conversation with someone new and interesting.
  • Sign up for a class to learn something and meet new people at the same time.

Self-care is a broad term that outlines anything you to do be good to yourself. Essentially it’s about being as kind to yourself as you would be to others. It’s also partly knowing when your resources are running low, and stepping back to replenish them rather than letting them all drain away.

by Harmony John