What is Self Care?

For a long time I believed self care to be as simple as taking time for yourself, maybe relaxing in pyjamas and blocking out the world. Only recently, I have had an epiphany of what self care truly means and why it is essential for mental wellbeing. I hope this can help someone out to plan an hour-or-so of self care tonight – go on, you deserve it.

Self Care: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Self care goes beyond relaxation. In fact, there are 5 various areas of well-being that we need to take care of throughout everyday life, even when we’re feeling less stressed and pretty much content with life. These 5 areas include: physical, spiritual, social, mental and emotional. Seems like a lot of things to keep on top of but chances are, you’re already doing a pretty good job without even realising. Here’s a little reminder of little areas of your well-being that might need some extra care with some of my essential tips to help you along the way.

This area of self-care involves all things exercise, sleep, movement, rest and even sexual relations – whatever your body requires for a healthy physical function. This is the more up-and-go area of self-care that often gets overlooked. We need efficient movement throughout our lives to be healthy in a physical sense, which ultimately has a good impact on our mental well-being too. Physical self-care can feel quite demanding but it is always important to listen to the hints that your body tells you – I try and go to the gym every day and keep active to feel content that I’m taking care of my physical health and appearance, but sometimes my body tells me I need a rest, so I take a nap. Sleep is essential in physical self-care, during which our mental health regenerates and vital actions take place for recovery. Never feel bad for taking a good sleep, your body will thank you for it!

What values are important to you? What are you thankful for? Spiritual self-care is all about revitalising your mind to be focused on a final goal. Taking time every day to have gratitude for all you have can shift a negative mood to a more positive insight. This can be as easy as taking five minutes to breathe and re-adjust your priorities. Life can be challenging and we can get a little lost on the way, so spiritual self-care is essential in finding our feet again!

Spend time with friends, family and identify the positive relationships within your life. Social self-care has a huge focus on who you spend your time with – if people are bringing nothing but negativity to your life then remove them from your social experiences. Social self-care can involve just having fun with people you enjoy being around, doing things that you love! We all need to take a little (or a lot) of time sometimes to just make memories and enjoy life.

The big one. Mental self-care. This can be anything from seeing a therapist, reaching out for help or taking medication. anything you can do to improve your mental well-being, do it. This is a lot more in-depth and harder to handle because the spectrum of mental health is huge. Taking care of mental well-being means to understand what is going on in your mind and identifying actions to take to improve the negative areas. My advice to you would be that nothing is worth mental health deterioration. Usually, with stress comes a cause and a great place to start is to just remove focus on the negative area of your life – nothing is that important for you to be unhealthy from it!

Dealing with your emotions. This form of self-care is all to do with how you’re feeling inside. Identifying emotions and analysing the cause for these is vital – if you’re feeling sad, what is making you feel this way? What is making you stressed or unhappy? Tackling the causes of these negative emotions and learning how to deal with them may be a harder task than previous areas of self-care, but the results are much bigger for your well-being. Accepting emotions as simply just emotions and letting them go will free your mind of any negativity hanging around. My previous blog post explains how I personally take care of my emotional self-care – it works for me and it could work for you too!