What is Self-care?

As a coach, I encounter a lot of people who lack an appreciation for self-care. What is self-care you may ask? In a nutshell, it’s about being as kind to yourself as you would be to others. Think of it this way, the way you will go out of your way for others, is exactly what you should do for yourself. Look at it this way; you know the safety directions you get before a plane takes off? The flight attendants tell you to be sure to secure your own oxygen mask before tending to those in your care. Why? If you try to help others without ensuring your own safety, chances are you won’t be able to help for long. 

The same practice can be applied to your everyday life. When last have you invested in yourself? When I ask this question either with one on one client or in an open seminar, most people shy away from the term “self-care” because they assume the notion is founded on ideas of selfishness or a lack of caring about others. Sadly, most people don’t think that self-care is essential to their lives. When you’re able to care for yourself physically, emotionally and mentally, you become better able to pursue your goals and enrich the lives of the people around you.

Self-care is a generalized term used to describe things you do for yourself to make yourself feel good. This can be something small like going out and buying yourself your favorite shoe, going in for a massage or booking a vacation at a luxury resort. Self-care is critical to our mental health and emotional state of wellbeing. When you prioritize yourself, you not only ensure you are the best “you” possible, but you reinvigorate yourself. You have more energy and joy to give in other areas of your life. 

Here are some self-care ideas if you’re looking for ways to bolster your wellbeing:

Most people often overlook their physical health. When your body feels healthy and strong, your mood soars, and when you’re in a great emotional state, it shows in the way you move your body. Make it a point to regularly engage in physical activities you love. Whether it’s going for a run, taking a walk or attending a yoga class, changing your physical state from inactive to active is a simple and fulfilling way to take care of yourself. It’s hard to feel fulfilled when you’re constantly focusing on the negatives in life. Most people focus too much on the bad things that are happening in their lives, they even focus on experiences and events that they have no control over. 

Why do we tend to focus on the negative aspects of a situation or experience? We are wired for a single purpose, survival. The mind is not designed to make you happy, it’s designed to help you survive. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, learn to adopt an abundance mindset. This is perhaps the most life-changing, self-care practice you can incorporate into your life. Re-framing your thoughts is a deliberate practice that takes time, but if you’re able to accomplish it, you’ll experience greater joy and fulfillment.

Another aspect you have to look at when it comes to self-care is what you put into your body. While it’s certainly all right to treat yourself once in a while, you should envision self-care in the form of more sustainable foods; leafy greens, alkaline foods and items that will make you feel energetic and strong. Take yourself to a local juice shop and find a smoothie that calls to you or try cooking a healthy new recipe at home.

Finding balance between work and your personal life, it feels like you’re always saying, “yes” when asked for something but you no longer feel fulfillment. It can be rewarding to have a full calendar of events, but it’s also important to know when to say “no.” If you’re feeling run down or spread thin, grant your self the ultimate luxury of downtime. By taking the necessary time needed to recharge, you’ll bolster your energy and return to your regular schedule with increased energy and gusto.

Self-care doesn’t have to involve making major changes to your lifestyle, it can be as simple as finding a few minutes to reflect each morning. Instead of reaching for your phone or hitting the snooze button when you wake up, take a 10-minutes to become conscious of your breathing, practice gratitude, visualize what you want and focus your newfound positive energy on accomplishing goals that are important to you. Creating a morning routine can help you to stay on track and centered throughout the day. 

Finally, never forget that self-care is personal. Find hobbies you enjoy, be it hiking, taking a cool drive to maracas, or just sitting home reading a good book. Take the time to take self-indulgent delight. Know that the way you engage in these self-care tips is yours alone. Incorporate these acts of self-kindness into your normal routine so that you can continue feeling energetic and excited about life. This simply means you are making the right decision by taking care of yourself in order live in a beautiful state every single day, no matter what happens. And the more you start to make these subtle shifts, the more you can cultivate a sense of abundance, the more you will begin to experience joy and eventually, create a better version of yourself.