“Three words for you: Treat Yo Self” - Parks and Recreation
Self-care is all that you do to take care of yourself. It can be something as simple as ensuring you eat and sleep on time to something as elaborate as a spa day. What makes up well-being and self-care for a person, is therefore very unique to them.
Anything that you like to do and brings you happiness and comfort is self-care, and this is not the same for everybody. So your self-care regime can be drastically different from your friends’, and that is OK.
Why is self-care important?
The nature of self-care is quite dynamic, with different elements coming to play with different aspects of your life. You may not be able to give your best at work on the days you have skipped breakfast because you’d be feeling hungry. Continuing to work without boundaries and without caring for yourself may lead to burnout. Burn out can feel like getting distracted from work, forgetting things, putting in a lot of effort but not much getting done and feeling exhausted. If your go to coping for these situations is continuing the work, stop. Take a break, go do something nice for yourself, take a nap, take a walk, paint. You wouldn’t keep trying to use your phone at 1% charge, right?
Practising self-care promotes and improves your capacity to manage stressful situations and your overall well-being.
When I say self-care, I know you think sitting in a tub with bath bombs and scented candles, or face masks and fluffy bathrobes. But that’s not necessarily what it is. Self-care can also be as simple as enjoying a hot bowl of sambar rice or getting a good night’s rest or taking that nice afternoon nap after a stroll in the nearby park. Self-care is not always expensive and elaborate. Sometimes it’s just taking a mental health day off. Let’s not get carried away with all the movies and TV shows.
Elements of self-care
Your well being can broadly be categorised into four different ones:
This doesn’t mean that they are separate from each other, but they are so dynamic & interrelated that in a few cases, it is difficult to define where one ends & begins. Let’s talk about how to meet each of these self-care needs.
Physical well being is when you take the utmost care of your body. Be it exercising daily or sticking to a pre-decided routine of meal plans or even something as little as a manicure to keep your nails healthy. They not only help you be physically fit but also affect how you feel through the day. Have you noticed that on days you work out, the day somehow feels more productive? That. Or when you wear your favourite shirt, you feel better? Also, that. Listen to the needs of your body. Your body is how you do things. It only makes sense to care for it.
Mental well-being involves keeping in check the overall mental functioning of yourself - being able to maintain focus & attention on tasks. It involves being able to identify intrusive thoughts and allowing them to pass instead of pushing them away. Pay attention to your thoughts and journal them, take a break when you feel tired, and remind yourself you’re doing enough.
Emotional well being is recognising emotions and not blocking them. If you find yourself experiencing stress, anxiety, shame, guilt, etc. frequently, reach out for support. Practice grounding and journaling emotions, sit with your feelings and do at least one thing a day that makes you feel good. Practicing mindfulness, painting, gardening, playing a sport, eating a nice snack, meeting your friends can all be forms of caring for your emotional wellbeing.
Spiritual healthcare revolves around your relationship with a higher being. This needn’t be mixed with religious sentiments. However, this can be seen in different forms with different people. It is a relationship of complete self-reflection & introspection or a relationship with nature or passion like art forms of dancing or painting.
All four contribute to overall health, and by practising self-care, you can not only improve your well being but also maintain a healthy life.
Let’s try doing this quick activity to check what your self-care routine can be and if you’re satisfied with it. Grab a pencil and a paper or whatever it is that the cool kids are writing on. Done? Okay!
Step 1: Make two columns
Step 2: In column A, write everything that makes you happy or feel better
Step 3: In column B, put down everything that you do in a day.
Now, check how many things from column A are in column B. Is it enough? Are there any? Which things from column A would you like to make time for in column B?
If you’ve got a great self-care routine going, way to go! We’re proud of you. If you are struggling and need support, reach out.