Life these days can seem like we are constantly at a green light, going and going until we feel like the only way to stop is to crash and burn. This mentality can take a toll on us physically and mentally. For example, living life in the fast lane may cause us to lose sleep. Continuous loss of sleep can result in weakened immune systems, diminished cognitive abilities related to memory and attention, and potential weight gain. These symptoms can also be a catalyst to igniting symptoms of poor self-esteem, self-love, and self- confidence. Additionally, continuous stress can wreak havoc on one’s body, affecting areas such as the heart and the digestive system. Perpetuation of these poor habits can be detrimental on our bodies and our relationships with others. Therefore we need to take a moment to be mindful of our stressful situations and realize the need for something we tend to place insignificant importance on: self-care.
Self-care can be defined as care “…provided for you, by you…” in order to address personal needs through a plethora of activities designed to increase feelings of self-worth and decrease physiological symptoms of stress. The idea behind partaking in self-care is that one can only be truly beneficial to others when one has taken care of oneself. While some might find self-care selfish, research has alluded that self-care can be related to creating a positive relationship with oneself. This is important in maintaining appropriate boundaries with others and building healthy relationships with friends and family.
There are various activities that can be labeled as self-care. Some of these activities include listening to music, getting one’s nails done, taking a walk, turning off one’s phone for a day, and deep breathing exercises. The “Self-Care Wheel” identifies six categories of self-care. Examples of self-care for each category are listed below:
- Physiological- Aromatherapy, Self-awareness Therapy, Painting
- Emotional- Self-love Affirmations, Watching a Funny Movie
- Spiritual- Meditation, Taking a Nature Walk, Praying
- Personal- Making a Vision Board, Getting Coffee with Friends, Cooking
- Professional- Setting Boundaries, Taking Mental Health Days, Learning How to Say “No”
- Physical- Exercising, Eating Healthy, Taking a Vacation
If you feel yourself starting to hit a wall, remember it is okay to put yourself first. Try implementing at least one self-care activity each week. When we are at our best, then we are able to fully give ourselves and our service to others. Happy self-caring!
Click here for a pdf of The Self-Care Wheel.