When you hear the phrase ‘self-care’, the first thing that comes to mind is face masks and bubble baths. Whilst those are important, that’s not all self-care is about.
The first thing to remember about self-care is that everybody needs it regardless of gender, age, career or anything else. The next thing to bear in mind is that you should be practising self-care all the time. It’s shouldn’t just be the one evening a week where you take care of yourself. It’s the combination of mental, physical and social well being every minute of every day.
Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your body and physical health. Your physical health is made up of your lifestyle, diet, rest and sleep and medical self-care and it’s really important to maintain all of these.
Sleep is important for every part of your wellbeing. A lack of sleep can affect how you work or interact. because of this,
something you could do might be not staying up late to reply to emails or working into the weekend.
This is also where the face masks and bubble baths come in. Taking care of and nourishing your body also has a massive effect on your mental health. And the same can be said about nutrition and diet.
What you’re putting into your body is also important. IIt can change your mood, how you see yourself and even how you sleep, not to mention your health in 20 years.
NHS England defines mental health as ‘a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope, with a sense of connection with people, communities and the wider environment’.
So let’s unpack this, to have mental health is to be happy within yourself. One popular way to do this is gratitude journaling. This is where you regularly make a list of what you’re grateful for. You could do this every day, once a week, once a month or whenever you like!
Moving on to feeling safe and able to cope; this is all about having a good support system of people and tools around you. This will help you to feel like you have your life under control. To do this you could use anything from the endless supply of organisation and life planning apps to simply setting goals and targets for yourself.
The last point in the definition ties into social well-being.
Your social well-being is all about your interaction with other people. It’s about picking up the phone every so often and calling an old friend or meeting someone for a catch-up. Human interaction and social aspects of our lives are just as important as physical.
One part of social well-being is knowing when to take a break or ‘digital detox’. With social media always being available, sometimes it’s hard to escape and feel like you can breathe. While it’s important to interact with other people, it’s also important to interact and listen to yourself.
Acts of Self Care
Here are some self-care practices you could do to help your physical and mental wellbeing. Some of these could even become daily or weekly habits.
- Go for a walk
- Listen to music
- Take a break
- Compliment someone
- Call a friend
- Practice gratitude
- Read a book
- Connect with old friends
- Have a shower or bath
- Watch a movie
- See a friend
- Get a massage
- Breathing exercises
- Yoga and stretching
- Use a foam roller
- Go for a bike ride
- Do a face mask
- Plan healthy meals
- Go to bed early
- Wake up early
- Don’t go on your phone before bed
- Drink 8 glasses of water