Sometimes life is so busy just happening around us that we forget to slow down and take care of ourselves. However, it’s important that we look after our bodies and minds because if we don’t, there’s not necessarily going to be anyone there to do it for us.
What is self care?
In a nutshell, self care is an umbrella term for being kind to ourselves and making ourselves feel good. The aim is to take time out to treat yourself with the ultimate respect. If you do this, you’ll see results such as feeling more productive, a confidence boost and improved self-esteem.
If you take time to be a little selfish and do things because they will benefit you, you’ll get to know yourself better and learn how to say no, where previously you went along with it because you thought you had to. In the simplest terms, self care is a way to disconnect and focus while living in the happiest and healthiest way possible.
Consider what makes you feel good
Where is your happy place? Perhaps it’s a Brazilian restaurant, a place where you can indulge in all-you-can-eat-meat. Alternatively it might be a cat cafe, where you can cuddle up to feline friends. Or maybe it’s spending time with your human companions, out for dinner or a movie.
Or perhaps you’re more of an introvert, and that’s okay. Your idyll might simply be not feeling obliged to see anybody. You could stay at home and order comfort food from Deliveroo – Mexican, for example, is ideal when you need a winter warmer; Thai spice when you need a pick-me-up. The important thing is that you enjoy it.
Whatever your bag, let yourself take centre stage for the day. Treat yourself. Tell yourself that you deserve it.
Connect with yourself, connect with others and connect with your community. Connecting is a form of nourishment and can be done in a number of ways. Take time out to deal with your feelings – perhaps by keeping a mood diary, practicing mindfulness or just getting closer to nature. Relaxing, eating right, making time for friends and, crucially, getting enough sleep, all play a part too.
Don’t fall into a trap
Of course, it’s important to differentiate between acts that might feel like they’re good in the moment – such as risky or unhealthy coping mechanisms like drinking – and those that will actually benefit us long term.
If you’re coping with the negative using negative strategies, any relief you get is only going to be temporary, and you could make things worse for yourself. Remember, you are supposed to be giving yourself respect, not damaging yourself and your health.
If you’re looking for a natural high to cope, why not try exercise? According to scientists, it releases endorphins – hormones that can produce feelings of pleasure – into your brain. They interact with your receptors, which affect your perceptions of physical – and mental – pain.
According to the UK mental health charity, Mind, self care can even help in managing the symptoms of many mental health problems. So no matter how you choose practice self-care, you deserve it and should remind yourself of that. You matter, and that’s why you should self care.