Self-care is one of the most important things when it comes to managing mental health. Learn what self-care is and how you can consistently make time for it every day.
How I discovered self-care:
I have always enjoyed a bubble bath or enjoyed binging a new series on Netflix. But, I never thought of those things as self-care and I never consciously made the time for the small things I enjoyed. I also never stopped to take time to rebalance when I was feeling stressed or anxious or depressed.
I have always struggled with depression and anxiety since my teens, but about a year ago, I hit burnout. I was constantly exhausted, stressed, irritable and didn’t take joy in anything. It was spilling over into every aspect of my life. My job was suffering, my family was suffering and most important I was suffering. I was already struggling with depression and anxiety but burning out just made me spiral deeper into my hole. I was ready to give up on life.
So, I left my job, I started a new medication and intensive therapy. I was in recovery. I needed to take care of myself.
What is self-care?
Self-care is a purposeful activity that promotes physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Seems very simple. But everyone lives busy lives and we often overlook taking care of ourselves. The key to self-care is that it is continuous. Recognizing when you are starting to feel out of control and taking the time necessary to rebalance. It is preventative medicine.
Self-care is not something that we feel forced to do. It is not an activity we don’t like or enjoy.
What is Unhealthy Self-Care?
We all have activities that comfort us but are not good for us (drinking, binge eating, drugs, risk-taking) These activities are not self-care. These are avoidance techniques. These activities are self-destructive and help us avoid our emotions. Yes, they feel good at the moment. But it is only temporary relief.
Why is self-care important?
As mentioned above self-care promotes physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. When you are feeling healthy and happy, stress is more manageable.
Self-care improves our mood, reduces stress and anxiety, strengthens our emotional intellect, and improves relationships (with ourselves and others).
If you take care of yourself, it is easier to take care of others.
How to make time for self-care?
- Schedule it – literally write it on your calendar. If you know every Tuesday you have self-care time, you will enjoy it and truly relax. Self-care is continuous.
- Involve others – remember it helps with social health too. Do something with your friends, partner, children. Make it an enjoyable, easy activity – not an activity that is stressful for you or you spend hours planning and preparing for. Take a walk in the park, build a blanket fort and watch a movie, or bake something.
- Small snippets – try incorporating small self-care habits into your day. Drink coffee from your favourite mug, take 10 deep breathes between tasks, play your favourite songs on your drive to work, etc.
Do you ever find yourself so busy you feel like you need a time-out? You’re exhausted, stressed, irritable and having difficulty focusing or completing tasks. You need some self-care.
This post has a lot of self-care ideas.
Self-care is not selfish!
What is your favourite self-care activity?
~ Lacey ~