What is self-care?

Self-care is a broad term to define any activity you can engage in on a regular basis which fosters kindness towards yourself and will improve your quality of life. Long-term benefits of self-care activities will have impacts on your physical health and mental health. Engaging in these practices will also help you learn about yourself, it will boost your productivity, and it will enhance your self-esteem.

What is the value of self-care?

The value of self-care is to learn how to recognise moments when you may feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious. Any experience where you might say to yourself, “I need time to recharge, to relax, and to calm my mind” is a good indication that some self-care is needed. The lovely thing about self-care is that it can take any form. You might enjoy a gym session, reading a new book or returning to an old favourite, listening to mindfulness meditations, or meeting a friend for coffee.

However, self-care isn’t just something we should be doing when we’re experiencing emotional distress. Smaller acts of self-care should be an ongoing, daily practice to reap the long-term benefits. For example, keeping to a sleep routine is an excellent form of self-care. A good sleep routine will ensure you get quality sleep, leaving you feeling well-rested, focused and attentive, and ready to take on your busy day. Another small form of this care that can be practised daily is keeping a gratitude journal (three things you are grateful for each day/week). This will help foster your sense of connectivity to the positive aspects of your life, as well as help you learn what fuels your positive energy.

What are the three types of self-care?

The most important thing to know about self-care though is that it will be different for each person. Your best friend might enjoy mindful guided meditations every morning while you might prefer to sit with your coffee reading the newspaper. Learning what works for you will be the hardest part of putting self-care practices into your daily routine but, once you understand what activities you can do to be kind to yourself, you’ll be well on your way to improving your mental and physical health.

Here are three types of self-care examples to get you started on your self-care journey.

Physical Self-Care

This form of self-care involves activities that help improve your physical health such as exercise and diet. It is important that you find a way to stay active that you enjoy so you stick to it. This could be going for a hike, a walk, or taking part in a team sport.

Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care involves activities that help reduce stress levels and declutter your mind.  Prioritizing your mental health is so important for your self-care and overall health and wellbeing. Life can be very busy at times, so scheduling time in your day to take care of your mental health can improve your overall health, wellbeing, and happiness. Taking care of your mental health can look different for everyone so find a way that works for you and that can fit into your daily life.

Some people incorporate journaling, reading, taking up a craft, or unplugging from technology as a way of caring for their mental health. There is no wrong way, once you feel relaxed, calm, and cantered.

Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care consists of caring for your emotional health in order to achieve emotional wellbeing.  How to achieve emotional self-care is by getting in touch with your emotions. There are many ways to do this, including talking with friends or family, meditating, reflecting, painting, or seeing a therapist. Find the way that works for you and enjoy the journey to self-care.

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