Between work, family and the other daily responsibilities we have, it’s easy to focus on everything around us and forget about something that’s just as important, ourselves. It’s important to make sure we take good care of our mind, body and soul every day, not just when we are sick. The primary way we can make sure we take care of ourselves is through the practice of self-care. The use of self-care is an idea many of us know about, but don’t always take the time to practice. In this Health Journal, we’re going to discuss how important self-care is and what you can do to practice it a little more and reap a few more benefits from it.
What is Self-Care & What types are there?
Self-care can be defined in a few different ways, but the World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as: “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
Self-care is also unique as people use it differently. Some use self-care to deal with difficult news, others use it to maintain their happiness day to day.
Types of Self-care:
Self-care can mean different things to different people, but there are three main types that are commonly used. We have broken them down below to give you a better idea of what these categories are and how we use them.
- Emotional Self-Care: Examples of this include self-talk, weekly bubble baths, saying “no” to things that cause unnecessary stress, giving yourself permission to take a pause or setting up a weekly coffee date with a friend.
- Physical self-care: This is practiced when we prioritize sleep, adopt a new exercise routine or choose healthy and nourishing foods over highly processed ones.
- Spiritual self-care: Examples of this include attending a religious service, spending time in nature, meditating, or keeping a gratitude journal.
How to practice self-care?
Now that we have an idea of what self-care is and the different types that exist, you might want to start practicing this more yourself. Well, we have compiled a few ways you can start practicing self-care more often and it might not be as difficult to fit into your schedule as you may think.
- Sleep: Whether we get enough sleep or not can have a huge effect on how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Not getting enough sleep can cause major health issues, but stress and the responsibilities we have can wreak havoc on our sleeping schedule. To get better sleep, start by thinking of your night time routine and see if you are eating sugar or drinking caffeinated beverages too late, which may be causing you to stay awake. It’s also important that your room is best setup for you to get your REM sleep in and is free from as many distractions like your cell phone and TV as possible.
- Take care of your gut: Although we can’t see it, our gut health has a significant impact on our well-being and overall how we feel. The types of foods we eat directly impact the bacteria that live in the stomach and depending on what you eat can have a negative or positive impact. So when choosing your next meal, try something that might be better for your gut and you may be surprised with how you feel.
- Saying “No”: Learning to say no can be really hard because many of us feel obligated to say yes when someone asks for a piece of our energy or time. However, if you’re already stressed out after long work days, saying yes to loved ones and coworkers can lead to burnout, anxiety and irritability. It might take some time because like we mentioned, many of us are conditioned to always say yes, but it will become easier over time and will leave more time for you and your self-care.
- Self-care trip: If you struggle with practicing self-care while at home and dealing with work, planning a trip to get away every once in a while can be very beneficial. The trip doesn’t have to be extravagant or anything too long, but a simple weekend trip can give you a chance to disconnect, relax and be rejuvenated. The goal is to simply veer away from the normal schedule and take time to do something for yourself so a simple trip to the next town over can sometimes do the trick.
- Get organized: This can often be the first step towards becoming healthier because it allows you to figure out exactly what you need to do to take better care of yourself. A simple change, like keeping a calendar on the fridge, will allow you to write down your responsibilities and appointments and give you a better idea of what the day has ahead. Being able to plan your day out ahead of time will help reduce stress while also allowing you to see where you can fit in time for self-care.