A lot of people have been throwing the word self care around lately. Posts about bubble baths, hair appointments, fancy lattes, wine and cool vacations fill our social media newsfeed. Hashtags like #worthit, #selfcare, #blessed, are starting to feel tiresome. What does all this so called self care mean anyways? What’s with all the filters and luxury items? Who has time for those kinds of things on a regular basis?
Recent growing trends in wellness and health have made us more aware of how important it is to take care of ourselves. We know that self care is important. We just haven’t quite figured out that self care isn’t a one time thing or a luxury item.
Definition of self care; the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own wellbeing and happiness
It might not be self care if:
– You only take care of yourself at extreme burnout
– It’s not serving a true purpose in protecting your energy or serving your wellbeing
– It’s a habit that is being used to numb out other feelings (over shopping, eating, binging, etc)
– It’s a habit that feels good but is actually detrimental to your wellbeing (emotional shopping, luxury items you can’t afford, poor boundaries, poor habits, etc)
– You are stuck in a cycle of self sabotage/burnout
– Luxuries and activities that cost money are your only form of self care
– The only reason you do it is because it feels good
True self care:
– Can fit into one of the six categories of wellness or similar categories; physical, spiritual, financial, mental, emotional, social
-serves a purpose that will benefit you ex: eating well, spending time with loved ones, practicing good boundaries
– Is practiced on an ongoing basis as a preventative measure, versus a reaction to burnout
-Builds your overall resistance to stress by caring for your own wellness
– Can be increased easily in times of stress
How to Develop Your Own Self Care Practice
Now that we know a little more about what self care is, we can start to look into our own lives and see where we might be lacking or where we are doing well.
Try this; list some things that you currently practice as a form of self care. For each item, ask:
What purpose does this item or activity serve?
Is it benefitting my wellness? Or is it having a negative impact on my life?
Can it be utilized easily in times of stress?
Introducing the wellness wheel:
Life coaches often use wheels as a way to take stock of where you are right now. The wellness wheel generally has six or so categories:
For this exercise, you can list these categories or create your own. Once you are finished you will see how you are doing in each section of the wellness wheel.
One Step Closer to Better Self Care
Take a look at your completed wellness wheel. You may notice that some categories seem full, while others seem close to empty. Is there one category that stands out that you would like to focus on? What category would make the biggest difference in your life right now? What would be a step that is really easy? Journal it out until you can come up with one action- just one! Remember it’s not about getting the wheel perfectly filled or solving everything at once.
Here are some quick examples of what kind of self care fits into each category:
Financial self care; using a budget/having a healthy view of money
Social self care; spending time with people you love/ social life balance
Mental self care; practices that help maintain peace of mind/ taking stock of mental health
Physical self care; exercising /eating well
Spiritual self care; having a sense of purpose/using spiritual practices
Emotional self care; healthy emotional practices/ being aware of emotional imbalances anger/sadness