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Updated: Sep 11, 2023

What is self-care?

Self-Care is the act of recognising your physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional needs and doing what’s necessary to restore your well-being. Without regular self-care, you’ll find yourself more vulnerable to illnesses and easily succumbing to stress, anxiety, and depression. It is imperative to maintain a balance between your mind, body, and soul. We sometimes neglect the importance and sometimes see this as a selfish act when we spend time on ourselves, however, it is a proven fact that the more, we look after ourselves and do things we enjoy it helps lift our mood and help with our overall health and wellbeing.

3 Key Habits to Self-Care

1. Boundaries – setting boundaries with yourself and others is necessary for protecting your time and energy. When you’re clear with your boundaries and make every effort to stick to them, you give yourself permission to focus on your own needs.

2. Self-discipline – this means that you don’t push aside the things you need on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. It’s about sticking to your boundaries and not letting things slide. When you practice self-discipline, it’s a sign that you respect yourself.

3. Consistency – when you’re consistent with your actions and habits, you can ingrain self-care practices into your routine. Rather than letting self-care become a random occurrence, consistency allows you to make it part of your lifestyle.

7 Pillars of self-care

• Mental – is about cultivating a healthy mind set through mindfulness and curiosity. Mental self-care is important for growing your skills, reducing stress, and enhancing your knowledge and creativity. Examples of mental self-care are meditating, writing in a journal or engaging your brain in a new way such as a new skill.

• Emotional – this involves taking care of matters of the heart with healthy coping strategies and self-compassion. Tapping into emotional self-care helps you understand yourself more, better deal with challenges and setbacks, and develop healthy emotional responses. Examples of emotional self-care are listening to your favourite songs, writing or saying positive affirmations, setting boundaries to protect yourself and asking for help when you need it.

• Physical – involves taking care of your body with exercise, nutrition, good hygiene, and proper sleep. When you practice activities for your physical well-being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self-esteem. Examples of physical self-care are drinking enough water, getting a good amount of sleep each night and eating meals at regular times. • Environmental – involves taking care of the spaces and places around you. The more you take care of your immediate environment, the more it will help you to thrive and feel a sense of belonging where you are. Examples of environmental self-care are arranging your workspace to be more comfortable, exploring somewhere new and decluttering your living space.

• Spiritual – involves taking care of your soul through activities or practices that provide a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning to your life. Dedicating time to spiritual self-care can help you find more meaning in life, feel more grounded, and develop a sense of belonging in life. Examples of spiritual self-care are spending time in nature and finding a community to contribute to.

• Recreation – involves taking care of your inner child with hobbies, fun activities, and new experiences. Recreation is important because it lets you get away from the pressure of your to-do list and simply enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer. Examples of recreational self-care are taking time for hobbies and creative activities and going on adventures! • Social – even though self-care is about you, it’s important to connect with other human beings on a regular basis. Social self-care means cultivating healthy relationships and connecting with people who get you. Seeking out positive social connections helps create a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Why Mindfulness Works for Self Care

Mindfulness helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses. Here’s how to tune into mindfulness throughout the day: set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills but you do need to set aside some time and space; observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment; then let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass and finally return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment. Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognising when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back. “The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.”

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