What Is Self-care?
There was a time in my life when I would hear someone mention the word “self-care,” I immediately thought of things like getting my hair done, a mani/pedi, or buying myself a new outfit. However, as I have grown and matured, I have realized that the best self-care doesn’t cost any money.
Today, I know that self-care means that I participate actively in taking care of myself – mind, body, and spirit. Here is a list of some of the self-care practices (or habits) that I have come to enjoy or find useful when times are good or bad (but especially during the tough times):
Developing the Habit of Self-care
Most of us are not born with a natural desire to lean into hard situations and circumstances that occur in life. Instead, we often run from them, try to go around them, or give up. But doing these things usually doesn’t help us reach our goals or have the life we want. So, we constantly find ourselves fighting our fight or flight response which leaves us exhausted.
However, suppose we develop the skills needed to stay the course and trust the process when challenging and uncertain times arise? Developing these skills begins with the development of consistent habits. It starts with how we choose to care for ourselves (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.) when things are going well. Then, instead of running, we reach toward (and ultimately achieve) our goals despite the uncomfortable feelings that arise.
The idea of practicing self-care during the good times reminds me of the quote, “be ready so you don’t have to get ready.”
It is easier to practice self-care when it has become a habit or routine during stress-free times versus during highly stressful times. I find it harder to remember to practice self-care when I am overwhelmed and stressed because I am not thinking and processing the situation like I would when times are calm and stress-free. In these instances, I am less likely to reach for self-care practice. However, the more self-care practices I engage in that have become routine and habitual, the more resilient I become during challenging times.
So, think about what you currently do to take care of yourself. What habits are you developing that nurture and care for you? Is that working for you? Do you feel nurtured when engaging in these practices? If so, great! Keep going.
If you are unsure what you like or what nurtures you, get ideas from others and see what works for you. Feel free to start from the list above if you need a starting point. Sometimes we have to try it out (like trying on a new pair of jeans) to see if it will be a good fit. If it “fits,” add it to your toolbox of self-care practices that you can incorporate into your life regularly. Over time, with patience, persistence, and compassion, you will notice how differently you respond to life and that you can deal with challenging situations with greater ease.
Enjoy your self-care journey!