Self-care has been getting a lot more attention in recent years as people look for better ways to manage their lives and avoid burnout amid chaotic, ever-changing circumstances. But there’s a lot of confusion about what self-care actually is and what an effective self-care routine looks like. That’s why we’re jumping in with self-care routine ideas that will actually make an impact on your mental and physical health.
What is Self-Care?
First, let’s talk about what self-care actually is: the deliberate, conscious act of promoting your physical, emotional, and mental health. If that seems like a vague definition, you’re right. That’s because self-care is multifaceted, all-encompassing, and looks different for everyone.
What Isn’t Self-Care?
Companies often market their products and services as “self-care” regardless of whether or not they actually fit into that category. Self-care can include making purchases, but it doesn’t have to. Beware of marketing that uses self-care as a trendy buzzword. For example, booking a massage every once in a while can certainly help you decompress and can be part of your overall self-care routine. But a massage isn’t, in and of itself, a self-care routine. It’s not all bubble baths and scented candles!
Why is Self-Care Important?
Because all the stress relief activities and facials in the world won’t do you any good if you’re not doing the rest of the work that goes into taking care of yourself. We’re talking about the day-in, day-out of caring for your holistic mental, physical, and emotional needs.
Types of Self-Care
To help you develop a self-care routine that works for you and meets all your needs, we’re providing a few examples of what every person needs in order to live a happy, healthy, complete life.
Not all of these may apply to you, and you may be doing some of them already. If so, that’s great! But we all have blind spots, and there may be parts of yourself you’re neglecting without realizing it.
At the most basic level, our bodies need to be taken care of in order to function. Most of these seem like no-brainers, but physical self-care is also often where people struggle – to the detriment of the rest of their health and well-being. Physical self-care includes things like:
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating food that fuels your body and supports your lifestyle
- Moving or exercising regularly without pain
- Seeing the doctor when you’re sick
- Maintaining healthy friendships
- Nurturing relationships with family
- Seeing a therapist if necessary
- Participating in mentally engaging activities
- Attending church services or other spiritual practices
- Engaging in regular self-reflection
- Connecting to a higher power, whether it’s religious or spiritual
- Giving yourself safe space to process your emotions
- Engaging in activities that make you feel recharged and rejuvenated
When you see self-care routines as a way to support your lifestyle and not just fun spa treatments and bubble baths, you’ll find it easier to make small changes that give you the care and love you need from yourself.