The Importance of Self-care
What does self-care mean to you? Many people define it as going to a spa center, taking massages, shopping, or putting on a face mask. They connect the concept of self-care with luxury.
When I am thinking about my story, I remember that the first defining moment was when I decided to slow down and reexamine the thoughts and beliefs that were occupying me at the moment. But also, to start taking better care of myself.
For me, self-care is a question of health and not (only) luxury.
Many men and women believe that they need to be perfect partners, parents, and employees. And in that belief, the pattern of not taking good care of ourselves and putting ourselves last is somehow stuck.
We should detach ourselves from this need and reexamine our values.
All of you should define self-care for yourself, which will help you manage stress and increase your well-being.
There are six categories of self-care:
Physical self-care. This includes physical activity like, for example, 30 minutes a day walking or exercising. Also, regular medical and dental checkups are a way of physical self-care.
Mental self-care. It means doing activities that will help you relax mentally, like journaling or reading a book.
Emotional self-care. It means paying attention to your inner talk. What things do you say to yourself when you make a mistake or a bad judgment or when you fail to finish all the activities you planned for the day? Emotional self-care means having compassion for yourself. That means if you have a habit of self-criticism, or feeling sorry for yourself, take action and adopt different habits that will help you increase the compassion towards yourself. That way, you will be able to show compassion for others.
Spiritual self-care. It means regularly connecting with your source of faith and hope. You could join in faith communities depending on your religion. For some is meditation, and for some is praying. But also, another way to connect with your spirituality is spending more time in nature.
Relations self-care. It means regularly scheduling time for a talk with your partner. Also, scheduling time for talk and nurturing the relations with other family members and friends.
Professional self-care. I am tempted to turn this into another article. The reason for this is looking back now, I realize how little or none at all I have put my attention on professional self-care in the past. By professional self-care, I mean to settle for work that provides you with everything you need to get the job done, and that is providing a healthy atmosphere. Set boundaries and tolerate nothing but respect in your working environment.
Since I put my intention on deliberate self-care every day, many things changed for me. I became more aware of my abilities and my focus. But I also noticed reducing the stress I was feeling all the time. My mood became dominantly optimistic – which means I was in a good mood for the biggest part of the day. It gave me a sense of control in my life, and it provided me with larger amounts of pleasure and enjoying precious moments with dear people.
This shift meant a lot for my daughter Joana as well. As I relaxed, she became more relaxed and felt this big shift in my energy. Our children don’t want us to sacrifice all of our time and strength for them. They want us to be happy. And they will benefit a lot more when we spread beautiful energy around them. We can only do that if we feel beautiful on the inside.
Taking regular activities toward self-care helped me move through all challenges.
It’s a big problem that some people still think that self-care is selfish. That is something “too me” focused.
This is wrong. It’s actually quite the opposite: it’s not self-oriented but everybody-oriented. Because only when you are good for yourself are you good for others as well.
You can give more to your partner, your children, your friends and family, and your profession only if your well-being is at a high level. Otherwise – what more can you get from a squeezed orange (you are the orange in this analogy)?
Try it today. Develop your own self-care plan. Write it down what you can do daily, weekly, and monthly to support your plan. Think of the things that are accessible, affordable, and attractive to you. And one more thing from my personal experience – you will succeed in this only if you make it a priority.
If you are someone who feels uncomfortable including self-care in daily life, you can ask for help and talk to someone. First, you can talk to your partner and friends to ask for help and support. You can even talk to professionals to deal with possible feelings of guilt and start taking control of your life back again.
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