Self-care, the term kind of defines itself. Self-care means setting aside time for yourself to do something that makes you feel good, whether that be mentally, physically, or spiritually. Although it may sound simple or like common sense, it's often the first thing to go when life gets hectic. However prioritizing self-care just as you would prioritize eating a meal or getting sleep, could really benefit your mental well-being in the long run.
Why is Self-Care So Important?
In today's world, productivity expectations have reached an all time high. Working long days at the office with little vacation time creates a workaholic lifestyle for many. With the preconcieved notion that if your not being "productive" your wasting your time, makes it hard for a lot of people to enjoy or make time for relaxing. But by prioritizing self-care time each day you may reach the mental clarity and relieve the stress needed so you can perform each day with maximum productivity.
When you don't set boundaries within yourself you risk exposing yourself to burnout, depression, anxiety, and self-resentment. Implementing a self-care routine has clinically been proven to reduce or eliminate depression and anxiety, improve ability to concentrate, lessen anger, and improve energy and happiness. And when looking at how self-care affects you physically, it is known to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Spiritually, a self-care routine can make you feel more connected with yourself and allow you to explore what makes you feel your best.
Customizing Self-Care to You
The best thing about self-care is it's all about you and what works for you! The #1 reason people don't prioritize self-care is because they say they do not have enough time. While we all have a lot to balance, self-care should become apart of your daily routine, even if it is minimal. Another great thing is that self-care can be done right at home or in your car and doesn't have to cost a thing!
Remember that everyone's definition of self-care is different. What works for your friend may not work for you. It's all about trying out activities until you find one that feels effective for you. However, you need to find something you can consistently do on a daily basis to really feel the benefits of self-care. Even if you have to set a timer each day for a 5-minute meditation, it's better than practicing nothing at all. We all have to start somewhere and starting small is completely ok! Over time of practicing a self-care routine, you should start to see the mental clarity and well-being improve.
Building A Personalized Self-Care Routine
There are many free resources on the web that can help organize and sort out your self-care routine. The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has created a self-care downloadable guide that centers around the 8 dimensions of wellness.
These dimensions are:
When prioritized together, it is believed that your overall mental well-being will significantly increase. The form can be downloaded here.
In addition, you can find many free self-care guides online such as the Inner Strength Education Self-Care Guide, The Blissful Mind Self-Care Guide, and the Salt Project: Guide to Self-Care for Families Together At Home.
Looking for ideas? Resources such as the The Good Trade 99 Free of Affordable Self-Care Ideas or 51 Self Care Ideas To Kickstart Your Self Care Routine.
Self-Care is meant to be something you look forward to everyday and leaves you feeling better than you did before. We hope that by implementing a routine, you find the mind relaxation you are aiming for. Be patient with yourself, enjoy everyday, and go into a self-care lifestyle with an open mind.