The importance of self-care

Self-care is important for building resilience towards life stressors and things that are outwith our control, e.g. COVID-19. When we take steps to care for our body, spirit and mind, we will be better equipped to face stressors head-on.

Unfortunately, many people view self-care as a luxury, rather than a priority. Consequently, they’re left feeling overwhelmed, tired, and ill-equipped to handle life’s challenges when they come along.

Don’t be found in the category which leaves you unprepared for life’s difficulties. If you aren’t already doing so, begin working on self-care starting today.

How to practice self-care

Self-care can be broken down into 5 parts, i.e. physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

1. PHYSICAL

  • Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Are you eating a sensible diet?
  • Are you exercising regularly?

We need to ensure we are getting sufficient sleep, eating a healthy balanced diet, and taking sufficient exercise to maintain good health. When it comes to eating a balanced diet and good quality sleep, there are plenty of websites and books on this subject, so I’m not going to elaborate. But I would like to touch on the subject of exercise

When it comes to exercise, no one size fits all! If you are new to exercise, you will need to experiment until you decide what type of exercise you enjoy and what suits your current level of fitness. Sooner or later, you will find a suitable niche that is just right for you, e.g. dancing, hill walking, speed walking, stepping, walking the dog, cycling, kickboxing, swimming, etc.

You are more likely to stick to an exercise regime if it’s “personally” attainable.

Common sense

Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals which you are likely to struggle with—you will only set yourself up for failure. Take things slowly and progress gradually. You can always increase your exercise as your fitness level improves.

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Please note: If you have a health issue of any kind, you should always seek your doctor’s advice and guidance before starting any new fitness regime.

2. SOCIAL

  • Are you getting enough face-to-face time with your friends/family, i.e. those in your “social bubble”?
  • What are you doing to nurture your relationships with friends and family out with your “social bubble”? 

Social self-care is a little trickier because COVID-19 lockdown regulations have placed restrictions on almost all social aspects of our lives at the moment. Despite this, social self-care is vital to our health and wellbeing, so we may need to become more creative and find ways to socialise “safely” with friends and family while maintaining lockdown rules.

There are lots of different ways to keep in touch with others as well as meet new people online, e.g.

  • Some people like to use social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to keep abreast with friends and family.
  • Zoom meetings, Skype calls, or Messenger are other useful platforms for socialising, and what’s more, they are completely free.
  • Consider recording a video and sharing it with friends and family online via email or Facebook, etc.
  • Send an e-newsletter or e-card to friends and family to keep them up-to-date with happenings, or simply drop them an email.
  • Join an online social or hobby network, e.g. photography club, reading club, crafting club, etc.
  • Penpal clubs are also popular and are a great way to connect with people from another part of the country…. or even further afield.
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3. EMOTIONAL

  • Do you practice healthy ways to process your emotions?
  • Do you incorporate activities into your life that help you feel re-charged?

It’s important to have healthy coping mechanisms to deal with anger, anxiety, and sadness.

Emotional self-care may include activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings, e.g., talking to a partner or friend within your social bubble, or keeping in contact with others via the telephone, etc.

Leisure activities are also an excellent way to help you process your emotions and help you feel re-charged, e.g., walking, cycling, hill walking, etc.

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4. MENTAL

  • Are you making enough time for activities that mentally stimulate you?
  • Are you going easy on yourself and treating yourself with kindness?

The way you think and the things that you’re filling your mind with greatly influence your psychological wellbeing.

Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind sharp, e.g., solving puzzles, reading, playing board games, or learning about a subject that fascinates you, etc.

Mental self-care also involves doing things that nurture your emotional wellbeing, e.g., practising self-compassion and acceptance. How we think about ourselves has an impact on our mental health, so go easy on yourself (see my earlier post re being kind to yourself).

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5. SPIRITUAL

  • What questions do you ask yourself about your life and experience?
  • Are you engaging in spiritual practices that you find fulfilling?

Research

It is interesting to note that research shows that having faith is generally a healthier lifestyle. An investigation into the link between spirituality and contentment uncovers many studies over the last 50 years. In most cases, it has been found that physical and mental health are both improved when our spiritual needs are met. Why is spiritual health important?

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Assess your care-plan regularly

Whether we like it or not, life has a habit of evolving and changing—it’s inevitable! As a result, we may need to tweak our self-care plan from time-to-time to keep up with changes, but this shouldn’t be too difficult. Identify those areas you need to alter and gradually adapt your plan around them.

How well do you care for yourself?

Out of the 5 aspects of self-care which have been addressed in this post, how do you score?

If you’ve found this post helpful in any way, I’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below or post feedback in the Contact page. We appreciate you taking the time to visit. Thank you.


Next week: 5 reasons you should consider a social media detox.

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