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.
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 instalments.
- Manage finances wisely – plan a monthly and yearly budget.
- Keep track of credit card, 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.
Everyone’s self-care plan is personal and will look different from another! To avoid feeling overwhelmed, pick out 3 pillars to work on for a start and keep the list short.
We hope these self-care tips will help improve your overall mental wellbeing. Share this article if you find it useful!