Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword recently with big movements in health and wellness taking over social media. Posts are often associated with skincare routines, face masks, and fresh manicures. While taking care of yourself is always a great idea, it doesn’t have to be an expensive process centered around buying beauty products that promise a cure-all for your stressors.
So what exactly is self-care? One article defines self-care as “any activity that we engage in to take care of our personal needs and well-being,” which can truly be any number of activities. Another important element to note is that self-care practices vary greatly from person to person based on their specific interests, needs, and personalities. What works for you might not work for your best friend and vice versa.
Why Does Self-Care Matter?
Oftentimes, people view self-care as a luxury that takes up a lot of time and money, meaning they let daily stress build up and cause burnout. Research shows that almost 20% of U.S. adults had an anxiety disorder in the past year, and the percentage of women who suffered from anxiety was much higher than men. Stress and anxiety can do more than just crowd your mental space, they can affect your physical health as well. Some common physical signs of anxiety include:
- Heavy breathing
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
- Shaking or trembling
Self-care can help quell these symptoms by addressing your physical, mental, and emotional needs long before you’ve reached your breaking point. Whether you have a mental illness or not, everyone has mental health and there are plenty of things you can do to take care of yourself on a daily basis and become more resilient in the face of life’s challenges.
Self-care is all about incorporating small practices into your day that help you attend to your mental, physical, and emotional needs long before a stressful event makes you run out the door to get an emergency pedicure. Here are some ideas to help you add a little self-care into your everyday life!
1. Eat Healthy, Sleep Better, and Exercise!
Physical self-care is all about looking at your body and figuring out what it needs to thrive long term. This could be exercise, a healthy diet, or even a better sleep schedule. Here are some easy ways that you can take care of your body.
- Get outside to soak up some sun
- Go for a 15 – 20 minute walk
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Stretch or do some yoga
- Engage in some deep breathing exercises
Something you probably already do but have never thought of as physical self-care is seeing a doctor when you’re sick, taking time to recuperate, and taking medications as prescribed. Of course, face masks and bubble baths can fall into this category as well!
2. Give Your Brain a Break
Mental self-care involves taking some time to slow down, declutter your mind, and reduce your stress levels by engaging in relaxing activities. It can be easy to ignore your mental needs when it feels like you have a long list of responsibilities to attend to and not enough time in the day, but carving out some time to address your mental needs can help you stay sharp and focused on other tasks.
Some mental self-care activities might include reading a book, journaling, taking a break from technology, or even meditating. Mental self-care can also look like engaging in positive self-talk, practicing self-compassion, and seeing a therapist if you need extra help working through a difficult time or situation.
If you need an extra push to make sure you prioritize breaks just as much as your responsibilities, block out a section of your calendar each day for a little rest and relaxation or consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to walk away from the computer for fifteen minutes.
3. Check-In With Your Feelings
Emotional self-care is about taking the time to connect with your feelings and developing healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions like sadness, anger, and anxiety. To engage in this, find activities or people that help you identify and express your feelings as they come. This can mean talking to a family member or a friend, writing about your feelings, or processing your emotions with the help of a therapist. Another important component of recognizing and acknowledging your feelings is to set healthy boundaries. Creating boundaries is a great way to recognize your limits and show yourself some compassion.
The beauty of self-care is that there’s no right way to do it. Self-care is a unique process that is all about making your needs a priority. Your daily practices should be developed based on the activities that bring you peace, relaxation, and happiness. Take some time to observe what practices make you feel good and see how you can incorporate them into your daily life a little bit more to build resiliency.
Want to build up your self-care toolbox? Check out our free, on-demand webinar series, designed to help you navigate life challenges and be sure to visit our blog for more tips and tricks on managing stress, anxiety, and developing healthy habits.
If you are in a crisis, please call us at 303-425-0300 or by calling the crisis line at 844-493-8255. The 24/7 crisis walk-in center and withdrawal management program is open at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.