Pop culture and social media have made “self-care” a buzzword of today, bringing both awareness but also misunderstanding. Self-care is not synonymous with laziness or an excuse for indulgence; it is a long-standing tradition throughout history of practices and customs that address basic human needs. It should be daily care practices taken by individuals toward their own health and well-being.
Therefore, self-care can be thought of as a conscious decision to seek balance by constructively counteracting the stressors that arise in everyday life. When you consider the high levels of stress most people experience, the importance of understanding and shamelessly employing self-care practices is apparent. Common sources of stress like work and finances can shift the focus away from what really matters. Because what is the relevance of working or having money if you don’t have health, wellness, and happiness? Some of my favourite, absolutely free, forms of self-care are:
- Getting outside into nature
- Deep breathing and meditation
- Reading, writing or journaling
- Taking a hot shower or bath (hot tip: upgrade with epsom salts, bubbles or a bath bomb)
Another important aspect of self-care is fostering meaningful connections.
Prioritizing nurturing relationships both personally through friends and family and professionally as needed, for example: going for a massage or counseling session. Creating a varied support network can be invaluable in managing stress and looking after oneself for the present and the future.
Set an intention to take care of yourself as we so often do only for others when we know the better lifestyle choices to make, but forget to make them for ourselves. Mindfully and without guilt, figure out what you need to feel well and begin making time for yourself and the people and things that matter most, you’ll thank yourself later!