By Ayla G., RD, CDN
What is Self-Care?
Self-care activities are things that make you happy and feel good. Taking time for self-care promotes emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual health.
Why is Self-Care Important?
a self-care routine helps you feel good and lift your spirits. Self-care can help manage anxiety, depression, and stress, while improving concentration, mood, energy, and health. Some studies have found that a regular self-care routine can decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
What are Examples of Practicing Self-Care?
Self-care looks different for everyone. Here are some examples of how you might practice self-care within the four major categories: emotional, physical, psychological, and spritual.
- Learn to say "no"
- Practice self-compassion
- Practice self-acceptance
- Set boundaries with yourself and others
- Seek help from a mental health professional
- Who brings out the best in you? Spend more time with those people
- Be physically active
- Make healthy food choices
- Drink plenty of water
- Get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night
- Have regular health check-ups with your healthcare provider
- Make time to do thins you love: read, knit, wood work, jigsaw puzzles, cross-word puzzles
- Learn a new skill
- Listen to podcasts
- Decrease screen time (phone, tablet, computer, TV, etc.)
- Spend time in nature
- Practice yoga or T'ai Chi
- Try meditation, mindfulness and/or reflection
How Can I Start a Self-Care Routine
First, think of at least one way you can practice self-care in each of the above groups. Next, turn your actions into SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. This is a proven method for setting meaningful, long-lasting goals.
Look at the following examples.
Goal: "I will journal more."
SMART Goal: "I will journal at least five days of the week."
Once you have your SMART goal, try it out. See how it goes and then adjust or keep with it until it becomes habit. Make a new goal when you are ready.
Taking care of yourself is not about choosing yourself over others, it is about taking care of your needs, so that you can be your best self for your family, your friends, and your job.