“Taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me, first.’ It means ‘me, too.’”
– L.R. Knost
Caring for Yourself is Important
Self care seems to be a trending topic. Put on a face mask and feel better, take a hot bath and solve all of your problems, meditate and reach enlightenment! Those examples may sound silly, but some of the recent articles I’ve come across talk about self care like it’s the ultimate life-hack.
Self care is crucial, but it is not the answer to all of our problems. Self care is certainly an important tool for us to keep in our back-pocket as we go throughout life, but you need all of the tools in the toolbox to live well. Self care, paired with things such as, a strong support system, a steady job and/or education, and a happy/healthy living space, are some of the things that will elevate the results of self care.
Self Care Defined
So what is the definition of “self care?” According to the Oxford Dictionary, self care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” The word “practice” is key, self care is a practice that must be set in place for it to actually work. You can not just go to the gym once and write that off as self care. Setting up those healthy habits of things to do each day, making it a daily “practice” is what self care is all about.
How to Practice Self Care
Let’s talk about some easy ways to start practicing self care:
Get enough sleep! You need at least 7 hours of sleep per night, but doctors recommend getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Maintain a Healthy Diet.Cut back on the sugar and carbs (directing that at myself), and add more fruits and veggies into your everyday meals.
Drink A LOT of Water (3.7 liters a day to be exact).Not only is water important for staying hydrated, it’s great for your digestive system, skin and hair!
Avoid Stress Triggers.This can include putting down your phone, closing your laptop or turning off the TV; pretty much unplugging from social media. If a certain person, place, or activity spikes your stress levels, take a break from that too.
Exercise!You don’t have to be running a marathon, or jumping in the boxing ring. Simple stretches, yoga, taking a walk or riding your bike, work just as well.
Develop a Hobby. Pick up the paint brush and start painting, draw in a notepad, start writing in a journal, get into photography, basically do something creative. If creative outlets aren’t really your thing, start an IM sport. Join a kickball, soccer, dodge ball, basketball, or whatever sports team you want!
Allow Yourself to Relax. Everyone has a million things on their to-do list, but sometimes you have to allow yourself to binge a netflix show, or play your favorite video game.
Be Hygienic! When your body is clean and well-kept, you immediately feel better. Wash your face before you go to bed, brush your teeth morning and night, shower or take a bath, apply lotion, brush your hair, and keep your nails clean.
Get Social! Sometimes you just need a night out with friends, or a coffee date with yourself.
Treat Yourself. Buy that cute ring you’ve been wanting, go to that concert on Thursday night, eat the pint of ice cream. Whatever it is, you should treat yourself every now and then.
Decreasing Your Medical Needs
Self-care can also reduce the number of doctors office visits you may otherwise make. In an article from “sciencedirect.com” researchers point out that patients can help to prevent their own illnesses and maybe even skip the doctors office, if they practice self-care. Sciencedirect.com pulls from an academic study, stating “In 2002, a study found that self-care may reduce the use of health services and increase patient satisfaction.”
If individuals use the right resources to find out which self-care practices work best for them, they can make fewer trips to the doctors office and improve their day-to-day health. Less trips to the doctors office, should serve as just another reason to practice self-care.
Self-care is Important, Period.
It is clear that taking care of oneself is important. You maintain a healthy relationship with yourself, you realize your self-worth. It is vital to stress management. It involves physical health, leading to a healthier you. You become more productive in your everyday life. When you’re giving yourself the gift of self-care, you have more to give to others.
So go forth with this information and build your own self-care routine. It is not always easy to break old habits, just to dive into something new. Build your routine day-by-day, it will make the process less stressful. Do a trial period, to decide which self-care practices work best for you. Once you have determined what steps you want to take towards a better you, start the practice. You will soon start to notice that you are living a happier, healthier lifestyle. So, practice, practice, practice that self-care routine!