Self love and self-care have sometimes been viewed as selfish and egotistical behavior, but exactly the opposite is true. Self-love and self-care are critical to our personal well-being, and perhaps most importantly, they are essential if we are to love and care for others. Simply put, it’s hard to take care of others close to you if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Looking after yourself and caring for yourself may seem easy, but in reality, it’s not. Self-care means nourishing your inner and outer self by looking after your mind, body, and spirit. What’s more, self-care will often require determination and focus.
What is self-care
Self-care is basically all the ways you look after your physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual health. Self-care means focusing upon yourself and taking the time to analyze your personal needs, goals, behavior, and accomplishments. Self-care means bolstering the positive feelings about yourself and taking the time to nourish and support all the aspects that make up who you are.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Western society emphasizes hard work and productivity, so by taking some time off, relaxing, resetting oneself, and engaging in self-care, individuals can actually increase productivity.
The pressures of life in a society geared towards maximum production and constant achievement can often lead to anxiety and depression. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that globally more than 264 million people experience depression. Developing and engaging in a self-care routine helps to lessen anxiety and relieve depression.
Self-care has been proven effective in reducing stress, improving concentration, and helping us cope with frustration and anger. Self-care has also been linked to increased happiness, as well as an improvement in concentration and energy.
There are eight generally recognized dimensions or categories of self-care.
- Emotional self-care involves identifying and caring for your feelings. It involves maintaining a high level of positivity.
- Environmental self-care means taking care of and appreciating your personal environment.
- Financial self-care is all about our relationship with money. This involves our feelings towards money, our behavior towards money, and our management of money.
- Intellectual self-care involves your intellectual development, engaging in practices that will expand your mind and increase your intelligence.
- Occupational self-care means practicing self-care in relation to your occupation or put another way, eliminating negativity associated with your occupation.
- Physical self-care means caring for your physical health. This will typically mean engaging in activities that maintain or improve your level of physical health or fitness.
- Social self-care refers to a person’s social interaction with others. Social self-care emphasizes your communication and general interaction with the people you love.
- Spiritual self-care refers to our spiritual path, or put another way, it refers to the activities that we undertake in our effort to connect with a higher power.
Engage in regular exercise. It is an accepted fact that physical exercise is beneficial to your physical and mental health. By definition, it is therefore an important aspect of self-care. On the physical level, exercise strengthens muscles, boosts endurance levels, improves the functioning of the cardiovascular system, reduces the risk of heart disease, helps with weight control, and helps in lowering blood pressure. On the mental side, physical exercise helps reduce memory loss, improves overall brain function, helps lower anxiety and depression, reduces stress, and helps maintain cognitive skills.
Write a journal. The simple act of writing can be very therapeutic. Keeping a journal provides an outlet for you to express your positive and negative thoughts. Writing a journal allows you to unburden your mind and helps you relax.
Get a dog. Believe it or not, having a dog in your life is tremendously beneficial. Owning a dog can improve your mood, improve your level of physical fitness and even help increase your level of social interaction.
When you own a dog you become involved in a whole regimen that occupies your time and takes your mind away from negative thoughts. Owning a dog will mean you become involved in dog boarding, training, exercising, and feeding. Perhaps most importantly owning a dog allows you to bond with an animal, form an emotional attachment, and make a new friend.
Connect with an old friend. Our lives in modern times can become hectic and demanding This is why taking some time out and reconnecting with an old friend can be so beneficial. Reconnecting with someone who has been close to you can bring back pleasant memories of the times you shared together, thereby helping you feel happier and more positive about yourself.
Loving and caring for yourself is critical not only for your own well-being but also for your relationships with others. Self-care may seem easy but it actually takes time and requires a commitment. To truly care for yourself learn to prioritize, respect, and love yourself. When you regularly practice self-care, you will become a better and happier person, thereby reaping benefits for yourself and others.