I know that we hear so much these days about the importance of self-care. In my experience, people often say yes-yes, I do that. But really ask yourself- what does self-care mean to YOU. If you see your self-care activity as drudgery, then it is not self-care. It should not be another item or your to-do list, but a way of life to affirm and look after yourself. In this post, I will discuss some forms of self-care , from basic to higher level and I would like for you to consider what truly resonates with you.
1 of the most basic forms of self-care is the practicing the components of the DEER acronym. I learned this priceless gem from Griefshare, a support group organization for grievers. DEER reminds us to take care of the basic, yet essential needs we have. Drink (stay hydrated with plenty of water), eat nutritious and unprocessed foods, exercise (get moving in the way you like-walking, hiking) and finally rest (sleeping enough and taking breaks). The concept is so simple, but people often miss these basics and suffer as a result.
Some states are slowly reopening after the initial COVID-19 outbreak, but self-care leisure activities may still not be an option for a while, such as sporting events, concerts, movies, etc. Since these activities may be off limits, do research about virtual recreation opportunities that would be interesting to you. A lot of museums are offering virtual tours. Maybe you could learn something new, while also having fun with an online class. This could also provide you with the opportunity to socialize and meet new people. Recently, I have participated in a few zoom trainings and I have met some really interesting people from all over the world. Such experiences can be intellectually and socially stimulating.
Maybe you have a “flow” activity or hobby that you enjoy. A flow activity is something that you get so lost in that you lose all sense of time, relax, and often forgot your worries. For some people that might be yoga, running, caring for animals, reading, creating art, etc. I can hear you saying but I don’t have time for that-If you look at your calendar-I am confident you could make a point to schedule maybe 2 half hour time slots per week for that “flow” activity. If you have small children and/or a hectic work schedule, you may have to set your alarm earlier and/or skip a Netflix episode, but time management can make it doable.
A good rule of thumb for self-care is to ask yourself the following questions. How is this feeding me holistically? Is this stimulating me intellectually, or helping me to calm my mind? Is this a way of caring for and nourishing my body? Is this good for my emotional well-being? If your self-care is non-existent or failing to meet the previously mentioned needs, think about what you can modify or do differently. The point of self-care is to take a break from work and responsibilities in a way the is meaningful and enjoyable to YOU. Maybe you know what it is that “makes you heart sing” or maybe you need to do some research around what that might be your ideal self-care options. I have provided a list of some suggestions below that may be helpful. All in all, people are more motivated and likely to adhere to self- care routines that are enjoyable to them. Think about what works for you and make a commit to give yourself that gift. It will make you a better person, friend, relative and worker. You are worth it!
Some ideas for self-care
• Spend time outside in nature
• Make a vision board with short & long term goals
• Just relax and do nothing
• Take a walk
• Turn off your cell and have a device detox
• Make crafts, paint, draw
• Spend time with people who inspire you
• Leave work at work, even if you work from home, log off!
• Say no to things and people who do not inspire you
• Engage in spiritual practices that are meaningful to you
• Incorporate laughter-maybe through watching your favorite funny series or movie
• Focus on things you are grateful for daily
• If you have pets, cuddle with them and appreciate how in the moment they are
• Help others-kindness and altruism can be so good for well-being
• Use positive affirmations