By Truc Nguyen
Taking care of yourself first and making your mental and physical well-being a priority sounds easy enough, right?
However, as easy as it sounds, it can also sound kind of selfish at times. Well, I’m here to help explain why self-care doesn’t belong on the backburner, and no one should feel guilty about putting their needs first.
In our day-to-day life, we all juggle multiple relationships (some at the same time), such as being a parent, daughter, son, brother, sister, spouse, partner, friend, co-worker, child, student, etc. It is in our nature to want to give our best to everyone, but sometimes, it is difficult to yield to all the demands of these relationships, especially if we aren’t at our best mentally, physically, and emotionally. Therefore, acts of self-care are important, crucial, and necessary to essentially avoid overextending and overworking ourselves! I should perhaps define self-care before I get ahead of myself.
NOUN | \ ˌself-ˈker \ ∙
1. Any activity or behavior that one does deliberately in order to take care and/or maintain his/her mental, emotional, and physical health.
These activities and behaviors are different for everyone, but the general goals are to decrease effects of prolonged stress, promote work/life balance, preserve relationships, and rejuvenate one’s mental and physical well-being.
There really isn’t a right or wrong way to “self-care” – it is what works best for you! It shouldn’t feel forced, and it shouldn’t feel like a chore as it should be enjoyable, fun, and relaxing/reenergizing or else something’s not right.
There are so many different types of self-care activities, and the purpose is to find forms of self-care that work for you so if it’s not working and causing you to feel more stressed/anxious/guilty, keep trying with something else!
This wouldn’t be a good blog/resource if I didn’t provide some self-care examples that encompasses different aspects of our needs, right?
Physical self-care ideas:
- Drink more water and eat something that good for you.
- Cuddle with a pet or loved one.
- Take a bubble bath & make good use of those bath bombs.
- Take a walk around the block or a quick jog (if you’re feeling adventurous).
- Get that recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Emotional self-care ideas:
- Spend time with people who make you happy.
- Write your feelings down.
- Watch a feel-good movie or those videos of cute puppies and kittens.
- Ask for help. Let people know you need some support.
- If you need to, have a good cathartic cry.
- Go see a therapist for extra support!
Mental self-care ideas:
- Take a class for fun and learn something new.
- Sit down and do mental puzzles like sudoku. Who doesn’t love sudoku?!
- Unplug for an hour. Social media notification dings can wait.
- Make a list and tackle that activity you’ve been avoiding for some time.
- Take a mental health day.
- Revisit an old hobby or find a new one.
Social self-care ideas:
- Go out to lunch or dinner with a good friend.
- Call a family member or friend just to say hello!
- Host a movie night for your family or friends.
- Join a support group or a book club.
- Take a friend or family member out to lunch.
Spiritual self-care ideas:
- Begin a gratitude journal and list 5 things you’re grateful for every morning.
- Practice mindfulness, meditation, or yoga.
- Set aside 5 minutes and take some deep breaths.
- Be one with nature.
- Light your favorite candle.
Pampering self-care ideas:
- Buy a fun treat when grocery shopping.
- Make your favorite meal.
- Say yes to that massage or that manicure/pedicure dynamic combo.
- Go to your favorite sporting event.
- Buy a fancy coffee drink at your favorite coffee shop.
Taking care of yourself is a must as the relationship you have with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship in your life. Because when we are mentally, physically, and emotionally depleted, what is left to give to others? Let’s go practice some self-care today, and in that case, I’m going to go rejuvenate my well-being with a cup of fancy coffee.
If you are struggling with finding time or energy to take care of yourself, I would be happy to help you. Stress and being over-committed/over-scheduled can take its toll on your mental and physical health. Come in for an initial appointment and let’s see what we can do to help you get your life more in balance so that you can take some steps toward taking care of yourself.
Truc Nguyen, M.S.
McCaskill Family Services