Self-Care: Be Kind to Yourself

Self-Care: Be Kind to Yourself

What is self-care

Self-care is consciously tending to your own physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

It’s a broad concept that encompasses just about anything you do to be good to yourself.  


Misconceptions about self-care

  • Self-care is not a one-time activity. It’s an ongoing process.

  • Self-care is not a luxury. It’s a necessity for wellness.

  • Self-care is not indulgent or frivolous. It doesn’t have to cost anything.

  • Self-care is not only for certain people. It's for everyone.

  • Self-care not about forcing yourself to do something you think you should do. It's activities that you enjoy.


The importance of self-care

When we don’t make time to care for ourselves, we’re often left feeling overwhelmed, tired, and ill-equipped to handle life’s inevitable challenges; much less, care for those around us. 

Taking intentional steps to care for yourself through activities that enhance your well-being makes you better able to live your best life. 


What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care is personal. It looks different for everyone and is not a one-size-fits-all.  What does self-care look like to you?

Self-care activities can take multiple forms including physical, mental, and social.


There are two main keys to finding and practicing self-care:

#1.  Do what helps you feel good (and is good for you)

#2.  Embrace your self-care activities without guilt

 

To help you determine what your personal self-care activities look like, consider your answers to these questions:

  • What activities make me feel at peace?

  • When do I feel the happiest and full of life?

  • When do I feel tension release from my neck, shoulders, and jaw? What am I doing when this tension goes away?

  • With whom am I spending time when I feel an increase in energy, strength, and hope? 


Self-care suggestions

Here are some suggestions for self-care activities. Pick the ones that resonate with you and set the rest aside.  Then, start your own list of self-care ideas and refer to it often!

Physical - 

  • Create a relaxing evening skincare routine

  • Get a massage or acupuncture

  • Make sleep a priority and nap when you need to

  • Take a bath with epsom salt and massage oil

  • Dance freely to your favorite songs

  • Go for a walk in nature

  • Take a leisurely bicycle ride

  • Bake homemade bread

  • Plant a flower or vegetable garden 

Mental/Emotional - 

  • Allow yourself to truly feel your feelings -- name them, accept them, and move on (feelings are neither good nor bad)

  • Replace negative self-talk with positive self affirmations

  • Reduce the amount of “I should” in your day

  • Set boundaries for yourself and choose what you allow (don’t say “yes” when you want to say “no”)

  • Keep a journal and be honest about your feelings (even if you shred the page after you write it, writing down how you feel is therapeutic)

  • Practice self-compassion by placing your hand on your heart and tell yourself 3-5 things you love and appreciate about yourself

  • Meditate for 5 minutes

  • Lie down and listen to comforting music

  • Make a daily list of 5-10 things that you’re grateful for

  • Talk with a therapist (even if just for 4-6 sessions)

  • Let yourself cry when you need to

  • Do something creative (paint, draw, cross-stitch, or write a poem)

Social - 

  • Take a pottery, painting, or jewelry-making class

  • Join a community club or group

  • Write a “just because” card to someone who means a lot to you

  • Have a picnic with a good friend

  • Follow social media accounts that empower you (and unfollow those that don’t)

  • Deliberately seek out what makes you laugh


Stay on top of your self-care

Pay attention to when your energy and resources are running low, and make time for self-care activities before you get to the point of exhaustion and overload.



Benefits of self-care

Self-care activities can support your well-being in a multitude of ways, including:

  • Improved sleep

  • Reduced pain and stiffness in your body

  • Increased emotional awareness

  • Mental clarity

  • Stress reduction

  • Increased self-esteem

  • More focus on your life’s priorities

  • Supported immune system

  • Increased self-awareness

  • More compassion for yourself and others


Be good to yourself

Being good to yourself is not being stingy or selfish.  In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself and others.  Compassion is similar to filling a bucket -- you can’t give to others if you don’t have enough of your own.

So go ahead and give yourself permission to take time for yourself.  To nurture yourself...guilt-free. You’ll likely be a better human for it.  And that’s something the world can use more of. :)

 

People's Herbs self-care resources