Self-Care: What it is and How to Practice it.
- What is self-care.
- The importance of self-care.
- How to practice self-care.
- What might get in the way of practicing self-care.
What is self-care?
Self-care is the things that we do to reduce stress, to maintain our physical and mental health, and a way of increasing our energy levels. Self-care is about taking the time to do what you enjoy doing, it is the activities that bring you joy.
The importance of self-care and why you should practice it.
Everyone needs to regularly practice self-care. Whether you work, are looking for work, are retired, self-employed or a domestic Goddess/God, everyone needs to engage in activities that they enjoy. Our physical and mental health benefit when we engage in the things that increase energy levels and reduce stress.
Taking care of your physical wellbeing is an important part of self-care. Engaging in physical activities that are good for your body and enjoying a healthy diet are vital your physical and mental health.
Have you heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? The healthier, both physically and mentally you are, the better able you will be to care for others. If you are running yourself into the ground and not taking time to energise and care for yourself, you may eventually find you have nothing left to give to yourself or to others.
How to practice self-care.
No-one but you will know what self-care practices are right for you. This is because it is personal. What brings me joy and what I love to do for my own self-care may not be for you. I will list some ideas below, but these ideas are only, and they are listed to provide you with some inspiration for you to discover, or recover, self-care practice that will work for you.
Some ideas to inspire your own self-care.
- Creative pursuits (Writing, painting, photography, crafts etc.)
- Going for a massage
- Catching up with friends
- Learning about something that interests you (for personal curiosity or through formal study)
- Joining a class or group that interests you
- Listening to music
- Anything that brings you joy or energises you!
What might get in the way of practicing self-care and how to address these.
Time: There will be periods of our life when it can seem impossible to find five minutes for ourselves, never mind finding an hour or two! Sometimes balance in life can be effortless, at other times it seems impossible. As we live our lives, commitments and demands on our time can change. When you have young children, are working longer hours, or are caring for older family members, are a few examples of life circumstances that can require more of our time. However, self-care doesn’t always mean you need a lot of time…
- Meditation can be practiced at any time you have a few minutes, longer is better, but hey, whatever works into your day has benefits.
- Take advantage of helpful offers from others that could support you in finding some time for yourself. Accept the support when it is available.
- Take an honest look at how you are spending your time, is there something you can stop doing that can be replaced with time for self-care? Can you look at your diary and find some time to make an appointment with yourself?
Guilt: Oh, this can be a big one. I have friends, and many clients (OK, yeah, I used to experience this too) who struggled with the idea of self-care, believing that they were being selfish for taking some time or resources for themselves. Often, we can find it easier to care for others and encourage those close to us to do what they love, but, deny this for ourselves. However, you won’t be able to care for others if you have nothing left to give. If you are run down, exhausted, or unwell (physically and/or mentally), you will find yourself unable to do what you want or need to do for others. Self-care is not selfish! Take small steps towards practicing self-care if you need to ease yourself into it but take those steps.
Not knowing what to do: You may reach a point where you know you need to start caring for yourself, but you don’t know how to do it. Some questions to ask yourself to discover/recover self-care that works for you…
- What did you used to do, but that you stopped doing because you became too busy to do it?
- What brings you joy?
- What are you doing when you feel relaxed?
- What do you find uplifting? Energising?
- Perhaps try some new things and see if they are for you.
Finances: Self-care doesn’t need to cost money. Going for a walk, curling up in a comfortable chair with a cuppa and a good book, meditation, are just a few examples of how you can practice self-care without spending any money. Some of the activities that may bring you joy may require some financial investment. For example, if you want to reconnect to a creative pursuit you may need to purchase some materials or items for this. This can be challenging if money is tight. Please avoid going into debt, this may add stress and financial pressures. Some things to consider if this applies to you are…
- Do you need everything all at once? Can you start with the basics and acquire what you want/need slowly?
- Will second hand get you started/reconnected with your interest? For example, if photography is your passion having the latest camera would be ideal, but could you start with something second hand?
- Can the resources you require be borrowed or hired?
- Is there someone in your life that has the same interest as you, could you share the resource/s you need as well as the cost?
Some bigger things that may be stopping you from practicing self-care.
Self-care should not be a band-aid solution for bigger issues in your life. Self-care is not only the little things you do, it is also about working with the challenges in your life. Relationships (romantic, family, friends), work, finances etc. can all have an impact on our wellbeing, either positively and by providing support, or, negatively if they are creating stress and/or challenges. Some things you may be able to address yourself. However, sometimes we can benefit from additional support and assistance. Talking with a counsellor or other helping professional may assist you in finding your own way to work with your challenges, whether this is making changes to your circumstances or to how you view things.
There are many ways of practicing self-care. If you are experiencing challenges in practicing self-care, or there are issues and circumstances that you need support and assistance to work through, please contact me for an obligation free, confidential discussion as to how I may be able to assist you. Skype, WhatsApp, Messenger sessions and personalised Hypnotherapy MP3’s available.
Inner Mind Therapies
WhatsApp +61 403 357 656
Phone 0403 357 656