No matter what stage of life you're at, you are on a journey of self-discovery. And you may come across the term “self-care.”
What is Self-Care?
Self-care can be defined as any action a person takes to care for themselves physically, emotionally and mentally. Self-care is so important because in the age of constant digital notifications, it can be easy to forget a meal because we’re wrapped up in the latest viral video, or scrolling on an infinitely long social media feed.
Teach yourself self-care is not easy. You can't wake up one day and know exactly what your body and mind needs. Like any skill or muscle, you need to practise to strengthen it.
How can it help me?
People who improve their self-care see it shine through to every aspect of their life. When you're more in tune with your mind, body and spirit, it boosts your confidence, trust and self-esteem.
Some benefits which I've experienced because of my self-care journey are:
- Trusting my instincts more
- Confidence to pursue creative pursuits
- More open minded and adaptable to change
- New perspective on life
It won't be the same for everyone but committing to your well being is an important life skill. Think of all the things you've wanted to do but you've either been too scared or shy to follow through. Now imagine yourself finally having the motivation to live your best life. Because when you begin partaking in self-care, you'll see yourself opening your heart and mind to more opportunities around you.
So how do you teach yourself self-care? Today I’m going to share with you four easy ways to learn more.
There is a massively expanding self-care library at your fingertips. Whether you’re reading this on a laptop, computer, phone or tablet, you probably have access to the internet. Sifting through the extensive amounts of information out there can be hard, so start off slowly by reading a few articles. There is no need to overwhelm yourself.
Your local mental health organisation will probably have resources that are applicable to you. If you require extra support, feel free to contact your local general health practitioner, psychologist or school/university counsellor.
Finding expert knowledge that is relevant and useful might be difficult, and you should definitely keep an eye out for scams that claim to “fix” your life with ‘one simple product’. Not everything on the internet is true so make sure you cross reference and find multiple sources of information. And when you’ve gathered enough information, you can move onto the next step.
Action: Open at least 3-5 websites that talk about self-care and jot down the information that applies to you. Then, come up with a definition of self-care that applies to you.
2. Trial and Error
The only person who can see if these self-care tips are right for you - is you. So it’’s time to give them a go.
You might feel strange at first for waking up at 4:30am to meditate or decorating an inanimate object that has now become your self-care box. But if you look deeper, you might find that these tasks can benefit you more than you think.
After giving a few things a try, you might realise that some things are not for you. That is perfectly fine. In fact, you should congratulate yourself for finding that out. Even better - you might find some self-care methods which are incredibly helpful to you.
Action: Record your findings and keep integrating your favourite tasks into your daily routine. With regular practise, your self-care skill could begin to elevate other areas of your life.
3. Determine Your Barriers
Most people have a reason why they aren’t already a super self-care genius. It’s important to be self-aware and conscious of what is standing in your way.
It could be because you don’t think self-care is important or a priority. That’s fair enough but if you’ve read this far then you’re probably a tad curious about what the self-care craze is all about.
It might be because you have external pressures which make you uncomfortable at the thought of caring for yourself. If that’s the case then it might be time to have some honest discussions with those people in your life, or considering distancing yourself from toxic relationships.
Another factor could be a pre-existing health condition or mental illness. In these cases, I highly suggest seeking professional help if you aren’t already. If you are, considering discussing self-care with your health care professional as they might have suggestions catered specifically for you.
Unfortunately I don’t have all the answers, but I know that no matter what the barrier is, identifying and learning to manage it can be the most difficult, yet rewarding experience. Dismantling your own thoughts can be difficult, especially if they become a negative thought pattern, which is why I’ve dedicated a whole post on this.
Action: Have an honest conversation with yourself about what’s standing in your way. And when you figure it out, think of resolutions or reach out for help. No matter what the issue is, it’s better to tackle it now that further down the track.
4. Adjust and Re-Evaluate
Like anything in life, your self-care needs will change as you grow and change. Maybe a year ago you relished in your monthly self-care bath, complete with chocolate covered strawberries and bath bombs, but now you prefer a good book as you sit at your local park or library.
Change can be scary but it’s a necessary part in your personal growth. Which is why it’s important to evaluate the successfulness of your current self-care plan and look for ways to improve. Your first self-care plan might look simple and slightly boring, but eventually it can become a natural part of your routine.
You should also check in with yourself often. This can be done in a number of ways.
Some people like to check in with their body. Sit still for a moment and concentrate on your five sense. What can you smell? What can you taste? What can you hear?
Is there anything that’s bothering you? Maybe you’ve been sitting in an uncomfortable position for too long. Or you need to throw out an old takeaway container on your desk.
Other people prefer to keep a daily self-care checklist. It’s a good reference for busy days when you aren’t as in tune with your body. There’s some downloadable self-care checklists in the Freebies section of this blog if you would like to check them out.
Action: Similarly to tip 2, it’s good to keep a list of things that work and things that don’t.
I hope this post has convinced you to give self-care a try. I am not a trained psychologist or health care professional, so please don’t take my word for it. There are plenty of people benefiting from the rewarding experience that is self-care, and you could be joining them.
If you’re looking to boost your self-care even further, I’ve made a guide to help you ‘Improve Your Self-Care in 5 Easy Steps.’
Inside you'll find handy tips, definitions and diagrams that’ll elevate your understanding of self-care even further.
Just click on the image and you'll be directed to the download page.
Here at PositivelyLost, we are building an online community of like-minded people who feel lost and adrift in life. We aim to help improve the lives of people through personal development and self-love. Feel free to comment your thoughts and suggestions below and share this with anyone who you think might need to see this.