What is self-care?
Self-care is the process of looking after oneself. It can be likened to when a cabin crew member explains that in the event of an incident you should put your own life jacket on before helping others with theirs. Without looking after yourself, eventually your emotional reserves to help others disappear and burnout can occur. If self-care is ignored for so long then caring for even your basic needs can become impossible.
Ten ways to engage in self-care
To engage in self-care involves a certain amount of self-discovery including learning what you enjoy, what you don’t and what your limits and boundaries are. You should aim to discover your self-care priorities and which activities ensure your own wellbeing. To ensure your own wellbeing, try the following ten self-care strategies:
- Prioritise yourself. Ensure that the activities you love to do are prioritised in your weekly schedule. Look forward to these activities throughout your week and engage in them mindfully when they arrive.
- Let loose and try to release your inhibitions (without using alcohol!). This might come in the form of playing with your children, dancing around in the kitchen or intimacy with your partner.
- Form habits that work for you and stick to them. Sleep, eating and exercise are incredibly important for self-care. Respect yourself and ensure you are getting what you need. Exercise five times a week, eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep to feel refreshed each morning.
- Form positive relationships. Spend time with people who make you happy and limit your exposure to people who drain you.
- Practice mindfulness. At least once a day focus your mind entirely on the present. You could do this while walking, eating or driving. If you find your mind wandering into the past or future just gently bring it back to the present – but don’t criticise this process, it’s natural.
- Limit social media usage and try to remember that it doesn’t show anyone’s real life. Social comparison can be anxiety provoking.
- Access nature. Visit the great outdoors and if you can exercise while there, even better!
- Be compassionate to yourself. Be kind and complimentary. Avoid listening to your inner critical voice.
- Treat yourself. Buy yourself flowers, have a bubble bath or any other activity that you love but rarely do.
- Take time out. This might be in the form of a holiday, a mindful exercise or just five minutes of doing nothing each day.
If you struggle to engage in self-care and this is impacting on your wellbeing then it may be time to seek professional help. A good self-care routine can be the groundwork for improving many mental health problems. To find out more about self care you can contact Dr Julie Hannan on 07530 854530 or at www.morency.co.uk.