What is Self-Care? We often read about it, but do we really know what it means? Does simply taking care of yourself in a daily basis counts as self-care?
With the various definitions found online, I believe this one is the most apt of them all: Self-care means looking after yourself, your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
In this busy world that we live in, with your work, children, husband, wives, or partners do you still have time to look after yourself and your needs? I guess not, all too often, when life is busy, people prioritize their wants and needs below everyone else’s. And apart from that, we often think that taking care of ourselves first is selfish.
Not long ago I came upon the oxygen masks on a plane analogy in taking care of one’s self. Whenever the flight attendant announces the safety precaution, they say: “In case of loss of cabin pressure, put on your own mask first before assisting others.” Why do you think so? Why do they always remind us to take care of your own mask first before putting on others? I think it is because people are naturally kindhearted and would help others first, especially the kids and the elders before taking care of themselves. But at the end of the day, we may not even be able to help others if we do not put our own mask first. Right?
We may have read a lot of books, articles online or even heard from your family and friends on how you can take care of yourself, but the truth is, YOU and YOU alone will know how to take care of yourself. In fact, you alone can do a self-assessment to know how to make yourself healthy, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Nevertheless, we tried to come up with some guidelines, some tips on how to start thinking of yourself and take great care of it.
1. Take pleasure in nurturing yourself, make a healthy snack or drink and enjoy it. They say that loving yourself in whatever form you are is self-love, but really what’s more important is taking care of your health not just for you but for your loved ones.
2. Accept all your emotions, cry, scream, pout, disconnect; give yourself permission to release frustration and block your inner critic saying that you cannot have these negative emotions. Laugh and smile whenever you want to, without a care in the world and what other people will say. Don’t let other people tell you how and what to feel, that’s for you to decide, you are the boss of you.
3. Take up a hobby, whatever age, and circumstance you’re in, it’s never too late to take a hobby. Follow your passion, draw, paint, write, sing, dance, do whatever makes you happy and fulfilled. You might be surprise that you still have those inner talents, just waiting to be revealed.
4. Take a nap, a lot of people are sleep deprived and that 30-minute nap in the afternoon may just be what you need to feel recharged.
5. Avoid toxic people. Whoever they may be, if you know that they affect you negatively, spend less time with them. You will thank yourself later.
6. Give yourself the gift of learning something new, stimulate your brain by reading or watching something new. You can even learn how to cook a new dish or learn to cook if you haven’t done it all. Think of those things that you wanted to learn, list it down, and start from there. For sure it’s going to be both beneficial and worthwhile to learn these things.
7. Be kinder and gentler to others and yourself. Give compliments to someone when you see something noteworthy and say “thank you” when you get those compliments. Enjoy a moment of reciprocated happiness by giving those honest compliments. If no one compliments or even motivates you, learn how to do that to yourself, believe me, it’s going to be uplifting.
8. Know your limits and invest your time wisely. Say “yes” when you’re willing and “no” when something feels more exhausting or already out of your limits. Look after yourself first.
9. Buy yourself something nice, something delicious or anything that will make you happy. You deserve a nice treat occasionally and if no one gives you that, you can do that for yourself.
10. Spend time with yourself, may it be a vacation, or just for an afternoon walk. After the chaotic day or week that you had, you also deserve a nice little break with yourself. If you cannot do it by yourself, bring your bestie along. For sure it’s going to be a lot of fun.
A wise professor once told me; you cannot give what you do not have. So, you have to take care of yourself FIRST so you can take care of others. You have to love yourself FIRST so you can love your family and friends in return.