You’ve probably heard the term “self-care” used a lot lately. It’s become a popular buzzword in the media and in personal development circles. However, you still may be unclear on what it actually means. While the concept does involve taking care of yourself, it actually goes much deeper.
Self-care covers a lot of areas with regard to caring for yourself. It involves nurturing your body, mind, and spirit. It focuses on building yourself up so that your internal resources don’t become depleted. "You can't pour from an empty cup" and all that. Essentially, self-care is being as good to yourself as you would be to someone you care about. It requires you to show yourself some compassion and encourages you to be vulnerable with others, asking for help you when you need it. What doesn’t fall under the umbrella of self-care are self-destructive coping mechanisms such as using drugs, drinking, gambling or retail therapy. These things only make you feel good in the short-term. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.)
The Benefits of Self-Care
There are lots of benefits to practicing self-care. Embracing this concept can be difficult for those who’ve always placed emphasis on the welfare of others. However, giving all your energy to those around you without filling your own back up leaves you depleted and empty. That’s no way to live. Instead, spending time and effort on yourself rejuvenates and energizes you. Taking time to indulge in your own interests demonstrates your worth, leading to improved self-esteem and a more positive outlook on the world. It teaches you a lot about yourself and provides you with insight into what you need to be the best version of yourself. Self-care helps you better cope with stress and to prioritize what’s important to you. You’ll be better able to take care of others when you also take time to meet your own needs.
Examples of Self-Care
There are countless ways to add self-care into your routine. The key is to choose activities that are most enjoyable to you and provide you with the most benefits. Going for a walk in nature is great for those who enjoy the outdoors. Moving your body in ways that feel good and are accessible can be an option too. Spending time with friends can be rejuvenating, but so can saying no. Allowing yourself to decline invitations or favors when you’re feeling run-down is a big part of caring for yourself. Treating yourself to a favorite, affordable indulgence like a movie rental, new video game, or ice cream cone are all good examples. As is taking a bath or meditating. These are just a few of the ways you can easily incorporate self-care into your life.
Now you know what self-care is and what it’s important. You’ve also got some ideas of how to get started, so you’re well on your way to adding this useful practice to your life