What is self-care and why does it seem so vague and mysterious? Self- care is a highly misunderstood term. A lot of times people think self-care is a selfish act, some think that it’s just a new facade that has been picked up to keep the selfish word away.
Self-care is one of the most commonly skipped part of the day. The extra time required for different activities is always compensated by compromising the self-care time. For instance you might resonate with statements like “I will quickly take a shower in 5 mins” or “I will just open a packet of instant noodles and be done with my meal in 10.”
We always find something more important to do or something urgent to attend to while self-care always ends up taking backstage. And the consequences are evident in everyone’s life. In most cases, the absence of self-care results in stress, and in severe cases, it can also lead to bodily anomalies like high blood pressure, hypertension, and even heart attack.
What is Self-care?
Self-care activities are activities that one does to care for their own physical, emotional, mental health. These activities can involve different things for different people depending on their current needs.
The stereotype about self-care
Self-care has become a typical idea where doing certain things equals unnecessary indulgence of self which is the main reason why it appears like a non-conventional selfish thing to do. Let’s have a look at those myths about self-care.
- Self-care is not about pampering yourself with going for massages and spas or buying yourself some expensive gifts or enjoying long hours of Netflix.
- Self-care does not equate to putting your needs ahead of others necessarily. At times that might be the case but more often than not it isn’t.
- Spending time with yourself is not the only form of self-care.
- Self-care is not just for people in stress or for people who are experiencing a difficult time in their lives.
- Self-care is not a once in a while thing to do.
How to make sure you are practicing self-care?
- Taking care of your Physical health– Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. If you are taking care of your body you are making sure that you are caring for your mental health too. It includes basic things. For example, you should ask yourself whether you are getting enough sleep? Are you eating healthy? Are you making sure you exercise regularly? Are you paying attention to your body and its needs?
- Taking care of your Intellectual Health- We get comfortable in our daily schedules. Same job every day, similar work where nothing is challenging or intellectually engaging. It is important to constantly stimulate your mind and what might help is picking up new challenges or activities to gain mastery over your interests. It will help you satisfy your intellectual needs and give a sense of achievement with every little success while you are doing something for fun.
- Taking care of your Emotional health- Making sure you have a proper outlet for your emotions is necessary. Adaptive coping skills, healthier ways of dealing with strong emotions such are anger, grief, anxiety is equally important. If these emotions are not dealt with properly and on time, they might have long-term consequences. To maintain this kind of self-care it is important to make sure that you have a healthy way of expressing your emotions, and find ways to help you feel recharged.
- Taking care of Social health- Aristotle said “ Man is by nature a social animal.” Socialization is a very important factor in self-care. Sharing a bond with people in our lives gives a sense of belongingness. Every person has there own version of social needs, but it is important to invest at least some time and your energy in your relationships. It is essential you spend time with your loved ones and build a stronger and closer relationship.
- Taking care of the Inner self- This is a tricky one and usually becomes the face of the negative connotation that self-care has these days. Giving yourself the ‘me-time’ is important, but it should be noted that this ‘me-time’ does not entail just doing what you like. It’s more about understanding yourself and simply being with yourself. Simple things like keeping a journal to visualize your own thoughts, meditating, and engaging in self-talk will help you to feel connected with yourself.
Self-care is not one task of the day that needs to be checked off your to-do list. It is more of a healthy lifestyle and doing things properly in all aspects of our lives. An imbalance in any area is going to be stressful and might become a cause of different problems. Life will present us with difficult situations which will probably not be in our control, but the ability to deal with them effectively is in our hands. So to enjoy the smallest of joys fully and to deal with the hardest of situations, we have to be prepared. And the solution to both of these is self-care.
Take it easy,
(MA Clinical Psychology, PGD Counselling)