Self-care, more than just reading a book.
We all know it is important but what does it really mean?
According to the dictionary #selfcare is: the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.
According to Dr. Maria Baratta self-care is so much more than going for a run, practicing yoga or reading a book. Self-care serves as an armor to protect the energy that we need in order to survive and thrive and self-care goes a long way in managing stress and living your best life.
Self-care isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your self-care will need to be customized to your needs. Here are some ways of how you can look after your mental health and no these are not activities to do. These points make you think more about your mental health and what might work for you. So you can create you own self-care routine or lists.
1. Self--care means knowing who you are and what your limits are.
Start to recognize when you are taking on too much, learn to take a step back and slow down before you get to the point of it all being too much.
2. Self-care means you are feeding your body nutritious foods.
And not in the way that you deprive yourself from chocolate and cake but in
the way you also provide your body with nutrients that give you energy and help you function during the day. This can be very hard, when you are working and you are busy. But have you tried making a meal plan and prepare food? It doesn't take as long as you might think. I have just started to make a meal plan again and it has made my life so much easier. When I come home, I know what it there for dinner, I don't have to think about it and potentially make an easy (less nutritious choice) because I am tired from my day at work. Plus, making a meal plan can also save you money!
3. Self-care means taking time to get to know you better.
Recognize your own personal limits. If you know that you don't function well or get easily irritated when you are hungry then it could be as simple as eating some fruit or nuts before you go into a meeting that cuts into your lunch hour, so you stay focus. Or if you know that you need to unwind from your day at work to relax, tell your partner you need some time to yourself to reflect and unwind before you spend the evening together. Learn to recognize what you need to keep you happy and relaxed.
4.Self care means identifying what you enjoy doing and what's fun for you and make a serious effort to integrate it into your day.
Or at the very least, into your week. Here is where we dive in to the activities you enjoy. That relax you. However, be mindful to make sure that this is something that you enjoy. Just because reading is self-care for the majority of the people out there, that doesn't mean you have to read to practice self-care. Really think about the things #YOU enjoys.
Try a plan a bit of self-care every day, it could be something really simple as: go for a walk (even if it's 10 minutes during your lunch break), have coffee or dinner with someone who's company you enjoy or journal every day to reflect on your day.
5. Self care means knowing how to decompress after a day's work.
Do you actually know how you wind down from your day at work? Often when we leave work we are still thinking about work. So try and find something that takes you mind off work, so you can relax. For me this is listening to a podcast while I'm driving home or calling a friend or family member. However, when I take the train to work I need to decompress when I get home as it is too busy for me on the train to properly unwind. So, what I tend to do when I take the train is having a shower straight when I come home to have a moment to myself and unwind before I spend the evening with my partner.
And last but not least self care means taking time to love yourself and appreciating that there's only one you and you're the expert on that.
People make self-care sound easy but it can be hard to 1. Practice it every day and 2. Really finding out what makes YOU happy and what relaxes YOU, can be hard. It has taken me some time and I'm still discovering new things that I can incorporate in my self-care plan. This plan changes as my life goes on. What I am asking you is make yourself a self-care plan and figure out what you can do to look after your mental health.
Comment down below what your self-care looks like.