The idea of self-care has become a catch phrase in our culture.
I feel like I hear it all the time. Yet, I wonder what real self-care is. While a mani/pedi, a good massage or a spa day may be forms of self-care, I think they may not go far enough. Instead I’ve begun to think about what it means to really take good care of ourselves.
If you search the internet, you will discover lots of definitions for self-care. The one that most resonated with me reads: “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s health”.
Stress is common in our daily lives.
Common enough that we may not even recognize when we are feeling stressed. It may take an extreme circumstance or situation to really make us say to ourselves, “wow, that is/was stressful”. Meanwhile our bodies are flooded with cortisol and other stress hormones from the myriad challenges of day to day living. Stepping up our self-care through awareness and practice can help us live healthier lives.
According to the Health Coach Institute there are seven areas of self-care. Emotional, physical, mental, social, spiritual, practical, and professional. If you are like me, you may only focus on one or two of these categories. Take a moment to jot down these categories and identify your self-care strengths and weaknesses.
What is surprising about this list of self-care areas?
Have you considered self-care to be any more than fitness or healthy eating?
Is only one or two of these your focus for self-care?
Looking at this list, are there categories you feel drawn to attending to or exploring?
Finding improved health and wellness can include evaluating where you are in the present moment of self-care. Assessing the places you feel the most stress in your life. Exploring ways to reduce stress, improve self-care and support your mind, body, and spirit. Check in with yourself about these categories and then consider your next steps.
Make your own self-care plan.
Now that you’ve spent a little time reflecting on your current self-care strategies, you can choose to build a mindful plan for yourself. Self-care is an investment in being your most whole, healthy, dynamic self. You get to choose which of these seven areas of self-care are most important now.
Choose an area where you currently have little to no self-care practices. Consider the stressors that impact that area. Do you have social relationships that leak toxic energy into your life? Perhaps you’ve left church but are feeling drawn to finding a spiritual center for your life. Or maybe there is something stressful in your professional life that is taking its toll.
Whatever has bubbled up for you in your personal assessment, consider ways you might begin to slowly address the self-care you need. Identify new strategies you might learn to help you have better relationship boundaries for example. Or consider negotiating activities or work assignments if you feel overwhelmed by current projects.
In our productivity driven culture, choosing self-care is a radical of self-love. What will you choose today?
Let us know in the comments what your favorite self-care practice is.
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