Is self-care treating yourself with a “reward” at the end of a long and tiring day? While that might partially be part of a self-care session, the bottom line is that true self-care is not baths and chocolate cakes. True self-care are those daily choices you make to build a life you don’t need to escape from. Let’s be honest for a second, we all want to act tough and pretend we are invisible /untouchable. But the reality is that we are more fragile than we think we are. We are in fact quite exposed to daily burnouts: Stress, Anxiety, Negative emotions (and people), etc. And we all feel it: We are regularly drained and gloomy. Those around us who we love probably notice it more than we do. Now more than ever we need to establish self care strategies.
In this article, we will discuss self care strategies to build a life you aren’t begging you could run away from. A life that feels exciting and simply bright. More importantly, a life that we know you deserve and those around you deserve from you.
So What is Self Care?
Self-care is more than treating yourself to daily one-off stimulation or “reward”. It’s a never-ending-always-evolving-individual process. Better yet, it is an important piece of the ongoing process of being a human being and not a human doing. The American Psychological Association defined self-care as “a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being.”
But let’s break this down and call it in layman’s terms: A vital part of adulting. So what does all the above mean? Well, it means that along with with maturing into adults come a whole bag of unpleasant surprises. Things we need to face and deal with and hopefully not run away from. And a key aspect of our ability to cope with those things is self-care. It’s vital to a balanced life we don’t feel like escaping from.
Why is it Important?
Self-care has many positive effects on our lives. Mental health probably being the most noticeable of those benefits. It helps reduce both physical and mental stress. But more importantly, at least for us, is that it helps you refocus on what IS important in YOUR life. On a higher level and discussed earlier, self-care helps us build resilience toward those constant daily negative triggers that add to stress levels. And yes, stress is very detrimental to our wellness.
Self-care should be a priority rather than leisure or luxury. And because of this, the majority of people go through the emotions being reactive rather than proactive.
Establishing a self-care routine that works for YOU equips to live your best life.
Baths and Chocolate Cakes Aren’t Enough
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, while baths and chocolate cakes might be part of a “self-care” session, it simply isn’t enough. Self-care is not a reward. Don’t get us wrong, who doesn’t love and benefit from a nice relaxing bath at the end of a long day? We know we do! But the truth is that at the core of self-care is a never-ending individual process. Rewarding yourself because you went through the motions of the day is not a long-term solution. Nor does it equip you to function through adult life most effectively.
Furthermore, we feel that relying on acts of rewards is only a way to run away and bottle things up. We simply want to disconnect and “not have to think” about the crappy day we just had. Again, not that there is anything wrong with that. However, it shouldn’t be your focus when you think of a self-care.
Self Care Strategies
The very first thing that you need to think about is:
- You must look out after yourself. No one else will.
- It’s both a responsibility and investment you owe to yourself.
- It’s a clear understanding that you are in fact a fragile being.
There is no toughness in everyday life stress, anxiety, negative emotions, and every day burnouts. It’s simply inevitable. We shield from those daily burnouts by bottling them, but that is not a sustainable solution long-term. Which is why we make a point to say that it is more than end-of-the-day reward. It’s a realignment of what is important to YOU.
The second thing you need to accomplish is:
- Look both outwardly and INWARDLY
You have to take a deep dive to realize what works for YOU. Self-care is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Like any good investment or coaching, it must be tailored to YOUR needs, qualities, lifestyle, and values. And from that point on we need to look at important aspects of self-care. Looking out for the mind and looking out for the body.
As mentioned above, daily self-care recognition and realignment. Once that happens, we highly recommend keeping a journal or place (can be digital) where you keep things that you deeply enjoy. Those things can be so many and, of course, unique to you. What are those things that spark a smile and joy in you? Perhaps puppies, running, volunteering, fishing, etc. You get the idea. These will come to your rescue when things start or end up taking a toll in you. Even better, why not actually do those things, if at all possible, as well?
The second strategy is being proactive rather than reactive. Once you learn to recognize those triggers then the less you need to confront them or deal with them. We are not saying completely dismiss them and move on but be proactive rather than reactive. This falls in the “mind” section because it is a skill that lives in understanding what triggers you individually. Meaning is being self-aware.
Finally, another strategy we recommend is, of course, daily meditation. As mentioned in our “Quiet The Mind” article, we feel is very important to disconnect of unimportant daily events and truly listen inwardly. Listen to your heart and true emotions. Reconnect and realign to that which is TRUE and IMPORTANT to YOU.
Sleep is so overlooked, especially nowadays. But we fail to recognize that along with nutrition, which we will discuss next, is so vital for the body. A rested body performs at a higher capacity than a tired body, that is pretty obvious. However, we tend to think we can properly function without proper rest. Or at least, we push our bodies to function with the bare minimum or even worse less than needed rest. In fact, how we mentally feel is often dictated by how our body feels.
Our bodies require vital elements to be in good standing. Nutrition is at the very top. After all, we are what we eat, right? Just the same way our behavior, mindset, and lifestyle is reflective of the people we are often around with. What you put in your body is exactly what the body will give to you. Eating a healthy meal doesn’t mean it can’t be tasty. That is such a misconception. All it takes is a little effort to educate ourselves on eating healthy.
Exercise. In our “Mind and Body Wellness: The importance of Balance” article we explained how exercise is scientifically proven to fight stress and anxiety. It even helps you refocus your energy toward improving your physical shape. Exercising regularly releases chemicals such as a protein called BDNF and endorphins in our brain that improve your mental state. Not only you are making your body stronger, faster and/or more efficient but you are working your mental health. Hm, who would have thought?
Build a Life You Don’t Need to Escape From
Life shouldn’t be going through the motions of long and tiring days. We are not meant to be reactive of the stresses adulthood throws at us. The present is indeed a present and should be felt as such. Self-care should not be seen as a luxury and we should take responsibility for our wellness. Much like self-confidence, no one will ever be a more sincere advocate of your wellness than yourself.
We hope you consider some or all of the self care strategies we listed above. Please share your comments, thoughts, and/or suggestions in the comments section below.
The Higher Path Project