Self-care. Treat yourself. Me time.
These concepts have been around for a long time but have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. Face masks have become mainstays at drug stores, and popular television shows have made self-care the brunt of jokes. Pop stars sing about treating themselves to expensive diamond rings and handbags.
Because of this hype, some may be inclined to dismiss self-care as a silly trend bolstering laziness and unnecessary spending.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The simplest definition of self-care is taking care of oneself. (Go figure!) And self-care is an important tool in tending to your physical and mental health. It can take many forms, and every person engages in self-care in different ways.
In many cultures, our worth is defined by how hard we work and how much we accomplish. It may seem counterproductive to stop relentlessly pushing your career and personal life forward to take a bath or read a book. In fact, studies have found that people who do engage in self-care feel guilty about it afterward. Let this sentiment go. It might take some time, but guilt is counterproductive.
The fact of the matter is you cannot engage with the world in a productive and authentic way without spending time replenishing your energy. Your friendships, family, and job will benefit from the time you take to care for yourself. Neglecting self-care can set you back and lead to burn out. High levels of stress over a sustained period of time can lead to issues like high blood pressure, insomnia, and stomach aches.
If there’s any trend to jump on, this is it.
What constitutes self-care?
For some people, self-care is a 6am run. For others, it’s a cozy night in with tea and knitting needles. When considering your self-care activities, think about what brings you joy. Maybe it’s cooking, a long walk, or spending time with your kids. Whatever you decide to do, try to disconnect from stressful, demanding aspects of your life in order to fully recharge. This means closing your work computer or turning off your phone.
Create a solid foundation
The better your foundational health, the more impact other acts of self-care have. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. Practice mindful eating and consume more fruits and veggies. Consider sprucing up your home with cozy blankets and pleasant scents so you have a calming place to retreat, if needed.
Make a plan
Whether you’re new to self-care or have been a long-time practitioner, having a plan is one of the best ways to ensure you are carving out enough time for yourself. Set a goal each week for the amount of time you want to spend replenishing your energy and centering yourself. It’s helpful to consider smaller activities you can do multiple times a week—like reading for 15 minutes or video-chatting with a friend—as well as longer activities you might do once a month—like a getting a massage or taking a day off work. Review your calendar and pencil in self-care activities throughout the coming weeks. This will give you something to look forward to and ensure you are tending to yourself.
Use it as a tool
Having a plan is great, but what if you have a really rough day at work, or it’s been raining for a full week and you can feel your mood dropping? Use self-care as a way to press pause and give yourself a break. And it can be simple. Maybe it’s a face mask or a night where you don’t check your inbox. Maybe it’s ordering a decadent take out meal and watching that movie that’s been on your list forever. Just because you have a self-care plan doesn’t mean you can’t use the practice as a way to build resilience during unexpected rough patches.
If you need a little inspiration to jumpstart your self-care, here are some things to consider:
- Rent a movie
- Order takeout food
- Take a long bath
- Crack open a new book
- Open a nice bottle of wine
- Call an old friend
- Write a letter
- Take a long walk outside
- Go for a jog
- Try out yoga
- Apply a face mask
- Take the afternoon off work
- Bake cookies
- Make a cup of tea
- Plan a trip for next year
- Journal about your dreams
- Sleep in
- Put on your headphones and jam out to your favorite tune
- Schedule a massage
We hope we’ve convinced you to spend more time caring for yourself and sparked ideas to fill your self-care plan with relaxing and centering activities. And you can always take care of yourself by joining us in class. Take a look at the schedule and reserve your next session today.