Self-care can mean different things to different people, but it always entails tending to one’s own physiological, psychological, and social needs. What we often forget is that self-care is crucial for ensuring our emotional well-being in general. In a world where you’re expected to always be productive and hustle, “self-care” means you’re taking care of yourself. Just like how plane safety tells you to put an oxygen mask on yourself first, self-care follows the same principle. It’s not selfish. So, let’s get into the psychological benefits of implementing self-care rituals and the 5 rituals you should try right now!
I feel I need to repeat this one for the people in the back … Let’s debunk a common misunderstanding: self-care is not the same thing as self-indulgence or being selfish. Practicing self-care means prioritising your own needs to meet those of others and getting everything that you set out to do each day done. You’re not mistaken if you feel like self-care is becoming more mainstream in today’s culture. The number of people searching for the term “self-care” on Google has more than doubled since 2015! Which is how it should be. In the words of Lizzo … it’s about damn time that we put ourselves first and slow the f*** down!
The need for self-care is obvious. I mean, c’mon, people? We have an epidemic of anxiety and depression. Everyone feels it. Self-care is one way we can all deal with the stresses of everyday life better. It’s stress from work. It’s the stress of trying to keep up with the fast pace of everyday life, which technology has sped up more than ever (just think how many emails come flooding into your inbox each day). Wellness expert Kelsey Patel says that “people are feeling more alone and less able to relax and slow down, which makes them feel more anxious and overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks.”
As self-care has become more popular, its definitions have started to make more sense to the average person. These definitions tend to focus on tuning in to one’s needs and meeting those needs. In the end, self-care is anything that you do for yourself that feels good. It could be something that relaxes or calms you down, or it could be something intellectual, spiritual, physical, practical, or something you need to do. Self-care means checking in with yourself and asking yourself how you’re doing and what your body needs. Brighid Courtney, a wellness expert from Boston, says that self-care has many benefits and has even been linked to positive health outcomes like less stress, a stronger immune system, more productivity, and higher self-esteem.
What are the types of self-care?
It could be anything that floats your boat – anything that puts a smile on your face. Some of the different categories of self-care include emotional self-care such as weekly bubble baths, morning affirmations in the mirror, having a coffee date with a friend, taking a pause from life’s hustle and bustle, or purely saying no to things that cause you unnecessary stress. Physical self-care is a form that includes activities such as choosing healthy foods over highly processed ones, ensuring you get enough sleep, drinking an adequate amount of water, and sticking to an exercise routine. The final category is spiritual self-care, which includes tasks such as meditating, being with nature, incorporating regular acts of kindness into your day, or going to church.
Dr. Gill Lopez also puts self-care into two further categories, which include temporary and enduring. An example of temporary self-care is going to dinner with a friend. You’ll benefit from the social connection, but it won’t last for very long after you part ways. Enduring self-care, on the other hand, has more permanent effects. An example of this is practicing mindfulness regularly because it leads to brain changes.
How does self-care benefit your health and well-being?
Many common self-care rituals have been linked to longevity and other positive health outcomes. I mean, just think about it … self-care improves your physical health when you are eating healthy and exercising. Self-care can reduce stress and anxiety because you are giving your body and mind time to rest, reset, and rejuvenate. It may boost your self-esteem because you’ve implemented a new skincare regime, for example. Self-care protects your mental health because you are resting, resetting, and getting away from the hustle and bustle. Self-care leads to better relationships because you are spending quality time with those you love.
How Do You Start?
Well, you need to follow a few key steps, according to experts.
1) Figure out what activities make you happy, give you energy, and put you back in balance.
2) Start small by picking one thing you’d like to do differently in the next week.
3) Do that behaviour more and more until you can do it every day for a week.
4) Think about how you really feel.
5) Add more practises when you’re ready.
6) Get help by talking about your habits with friends and family, a coach, a licensed professional (like a therapist or dietitian), or your health plan, community, or workplace.
And remember, self-care rituals doesn’t have to be hard to start doing right away. Here are some ideas to help you get started with self-care:
2) At the beginning of each day, pay attention to your breath for five minutes and set goals for the day.
3) Find something relaxing to do, like yoga.
4) Every night, think about what you’re thankful for.
5) Turn your phone to “airplane mode” every night for 30 minutes to stop getting notifications.
The bottom line is that taking care of yourself can improve your health and outlook, but you must be willing to invest in your own well-being. Self-care is something that each person can choose to do to take care of their own health. And it’s usually worth the time and money you put into it. We need to get rid of the idea that being nice to ourselves and taking care of ourselves is selfish or self-indulgent. So, go give yourself a facial or something!