Do you know how to take care of yourself? We have all heard about “self-care,” but what is it? Why is self-care so critical? More importantly, how can you work it into your life without it being yet another thing, “to-do”? Sometimes it seems like we spend so much of our energy taking care of life’s endless details that there’s no time left to focus on our health and wellbeing.
What is self-care?
If we want to make self-care a priority, we have to develop certain habits–and let go of learned behaviors that sabotage us.
The first step in knowing how to take care of yourself is to learn to identify when you start going off track. The body will tell you this information if you listen. It’s a skill, like learning a new language for many of us who have spent years ignoring our bodies’ messages.
Too often, people think self-care is only for the indulgent. It has become synonymous with spa days, vacations, and expensive bath products. While yes, this is self-care, there is so much more to it. Real, life-altering self-care requires tough-mindedness, a deep and personal understanding of your priorities, and a respect for both yourself and your loved ones.
What Is Self-care?
Self-care is deliberately doing something to improve your health or mental wellbeing. Self-care does not mean the same thing for each person, and what works for one person may not have the same benefits to another.
By taking the time to take care of ourselves before we get sick, we can prevent some types of chronic illnesses. When we are in tune physically and mentally, we can be our best selves or take action and change what isn’t right. By continually putting your health and wellbeing on the back burner until you “have more time,” you can create long term issues.
So how do you work self-care into your daily or weekly routine without it feeling overwhelming? First, realize that self-care isn’t a selfish act, and taking care of yourself gives you the ability to handle life at your best. Second, figure out what you can do deliberately to improve your mental or physical health. Third, remember that self-care is an ever-changing process. What you need physically or mentally one day may be different the next, and that’s okay! By placing self-care doesn’t have to be some big gesture to be beneficial; you give yourself the ability to see that even 30 seconds of deep breathing or feeling the sun on your face and enjoying it is self-care.
Ideas for Self-Care
- Make healthy food choices
- Avoid excess alcohol intake
- Get moving – walk, run, dance!
- Focus on breathing
- Spend time outside
- Read a book
- Do a craft you enjoy
- Spend time with people that lift you up
- Take a nap
- Gratitude list
- Learn to say “no” and set boundaries
The Art of Aging Well™ is an overall approach to aging the best way possible. Our methodology means being in tune with your body, so you can take action quickly when things feel amiss. We are here to listen and create an action plan for your AgeWell journey!