(HealthyResearch.com) – You hear the term “self-care” so often these days that it seems almost a cliche. And while tired and overused bits of advice like taking a hot bubble bath and learning to say “no” when you’re stretched too thin that go with it might be fun, they are NOT “real” self-care tips.
Self-care is more than taking a moment here and there to patch yourself back together. It’s something you integrate into your daily life, a long-term investment into your future health and happiness.
Self-care is a mindset.
Bubble baths and firmer boundaries are a start, but they merely scratch the surface. If you really want to practice self-care, you’ll need to delve deeper. We can help you get started.
Who are you, really? Think beyond how you identify yourself in relation to others — the parent, the spouse, the caregiver, the child. What makes you the wonderful, unique person you are? Many of us spend much of our lives searching for meaning and purpose through those around us, and this can lead to an excessive need for approval and validation. While peer feedback is a necessary and valuable resource, you also need to value your own judgments.
Every one of us is different, and with those differences come variations in taste, aversions, values and quirks. On a fundamental level, you can’t change who you are — so stop trying to be a supermodel or your favorite influencer and just be you. Not sure who that is? Look within, letting go of other people’s opinions and values, and let the self-discovery begin.
Whether you’ve always wanted to write a novel, take ballet classes or learn how to cook French food, unlocking your passions plays an important role in self-care.
What one person finds charming in you might appear annoying to someone else. You can’t please everyone, so forget about being perfect and focus on being the best version of you. Part of self-care is accepting and loving yourself for all your wonderful qualities — and your imperfections. You can strive for self-growth, while still accepting and loving yourself.
Self-love is about treating yourself with the same care and compassion as you would a treasured loved one. Learn how to be your own best friend, your biggest advocate, your loudest cheerleader. Look in the mirror, give yourself a heartfelt smile and tell that beautiful person, “I love you.”
Take care of yourself by nurturing your mind, body and spirit. Self-care is about being as grounded and healthy as you can be, on every possible level. That means ensuring your wellbeing, regardless of whether you’re at work or home, and doing whatever it takes to keep yourself functioning at your best. This might entail the occasional bubble bath, but more importantly, it also requires a self-care plan.
Start with the basics:
- Take care of your physical health. Give yourself the gift of a proper diet, exercise and adequate rest. Self-care will only take you so far if you’re not taking care of your entire self.
- Cultivate your mind. Surround yourself with positive company and enrich yourself with creative or intellectual pursuits — or even some good, old-fashioned, mindless entertainment. Learn. Laugh. Broaden your horizons.
- Nurture your spirit. Discover the benefits of mindfulness. Today’s fast-paced world can make it easy to ruminate over past events or worry about the future. Mindfulness integrates practices like meditation and breathing exercises to help you be present.
Figure out what grounds you and keep it as a tool on-hand for stressful times. Try journaling, documenting your goals, setbacks and feelings. Establish your own personal self-care routine, covering mind, body and spirit — and then stick to it.
Self-care requires work and personal reflection. It’s a long-term investment in your greatest asset: you. Be as dedicated to yourself as you are to your job, family and close friends. You owe it to yourself to be your very best, and that means learning to love yourself and giving yourself the tools you need to be successful on all fronts.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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