Self-care is a term that describes the action that one does consciously to care for their mental, physical, and emotional health. In its simplest essence, self-care refers to the act of being responsible for looking after oneself.
(According to WHO, health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.)
However, self-care should not be confused with indulgence.
It is okay to indulge in that slice of cake or a relaxing massage. While these are activities that can satisfy us, it's positive impacts are shortlived.
It's not easy but it is crucial.
Self-care requires some hard work in putting in that effort to be responsible for taking care of ourselves. It could look like setting boundaries; making tough practical decisions; cultivating certain healthy habits or carving out time for ourselves.
When we practice self-care, it helps us maintain a healthy and positive relationship with ourselves and the people around us. It also helps us to build resilience and allow us to bounce back from stress and burnout much more effectively.
The 8 Pillars of Self-Care
Here are some tips you could use to get started on your own self-care journey:
- Put aside some time for self-reflection through journaling.
- Practice mindfulness and cultivate present moment awareness through art-making such as weaving, mandalas or drawing in a circle.
- Master a new skill or learn something new to expand on your current/existing knowledge. This could include learning a new language, musical instrument or sport.
However, be mindful that the new skill you intend to pursue is challenging, yet attainable. Else it might end up being a cause for stress!
- Exercise compassion for yourself and others. Sometimes, our inner critic gets the better of us.
- Navigate emotions by developing emotional literacy, it could help us make sense of our feelings.
- Manage stress through therapeutic activities such as listening to music or making art. For more ideas on art as therapy activities, follow us on (@solace_art_therapy).
- Ensure sufficient rest. Here's an article from TED that talks about the 7 types of rest that everyone needs.
- Move the body - dance, swim, jog, stretch or walk.
- Have healthy and nutritious meals, limit the amount of junk food and alcohol that goes into your body.
- Deep breathing exercises help with regulating heart rate and contribute to lower blood pressure.
- Maintain good personal hygiene and grooming. This helps you to feel good about yourself and can inspire self-confidence.
- Make some time to catch up with important people in your life such as friends, family, or colleagues.
- Recognise and keep a distance from toxic circles or people.
- Join a community, support group, or volunteer your time. This helps to expand your social circle and network.
- Meet new people outside work and circle of family and friends.
- Attend professional development courses or coaching.
- Understand your job scope, roles, and responsibilities.
- Negotiate your needs and benefits.
- Set clear and healthy boundaries to enjoy a good work-life balance.
- Make a list of personal beliefs and guiding values.
- Spend time connecting with nature.
- Allocate time for any spiritual or religious practice.
- Be conscious of spending habits and any outstanding debts or installments.
- Manage finances wisely - plan a monthly and yearly budget.
- Keep track of credit cards, insurance, and other bills. Ensure they are paid on time.
- Keep living spaces safe, clean, and neat.
- Declutter and organise spaces.
- Consider direct impacts on the environment - reuse, reduce, recycle where possible.
It's okay to be different
Everyone's self-care plan is personal and will look different from another. We all lead different lives and would naturally have different priorities too. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, consider picking out 3 pillars to work on for a start and keep the list short.
It may not be easy and may even feel chaotic to develop a self-care plan. If you are finding it difficult to manage or work out a routine, talk to us.
Hence, if you need support, do not hesitate to reach out to us as we are here to help. Creating a balanced and quality life is a continuous process but not out of reach. You may reach out to us via email or WhatsApp at any time.
Enjoyed this article? Share it!