It seems like these days self care is becoming more and more of a term that is being thrown around town. In my practice and work with clients, whether counseling or life coaching, self care is an integral part of the work that we do together. So what exactly is self care? Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Self care is unique for everyone, however good self care should be integrated in all of our lives. For many, good self care is an integral part of the healing process. With the hustle of bustle of life, many of us are so in a rush to get things done, that we forgot that we need to care for our own needs in order to care for others.
Here are 10 signs that it may be time for a heavy dose of self care.
- You have a lack motivation for anything
- You are overly reactive to everyday problems
- You find yourself tired and fatigue often
- You are avoiding things you usually like
- You are irritable all of the time
- You have less patience than normal
- You’re reverting to unhealthy habits
- You don’t want to get out of bed.
- You worry excessively
- You’ve developed physical symptoms or illness
Self-Care isn’t a one shot deal. It is a consistent habit that we choose to incorporate into our daily practice.
Below are a few ways in which we can incorporate self-care into our lives. However there are several other small acts that we can do to take care of ourselves.
Find a Form of Exercise You Truly Enjoy
Exercising for at least 30 minutes, 3 times a week not only supports our physical health but also our emotional health. There are endless exercises options to try. Find one that you enjoy and commit to it. Did I mention that it is a great stress reliever. You will notice the difference in your energy levels and how you feel.
Sleep is an integral act of self care. The benefits of a good night’s sleep are limitless. Everyone requires a different amount of sleep for optimal health. On average committing to 7-9 hours of sleep work is usually enough to feel well rested.
Yoga is so much more than deep stretching. It is breathing, relaxing, connecting and so much more. Yoga can help us to control high levels of stress and anxiety. It can also help us to develop connect to ourselves in a non judgmental way.
Make Time for friends
Spending time with friends is a great way to let your guard down and connect with the people in your life that inspire, motivate or just provide you with a good laugh. Relationships can provide us with energy when we are feeling drained or overworked.
Engage in Fun Filled Activities
Remember when we were kids and all we wanted to do was have fun. Once we become adults, we often forget that in order to have balance, we can still have fun. Consider hobbies or personal interests that can provide you with opportunities to connect with your fun side.
Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. It involves focusing on breath, bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. It involves turning your attention from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment. Consider starting your day with a 5 minute meditation practice. There are tons of guided meditations online or apps available with themed meditations.
We often don’t realize that we spend many either not breathing effectively or engaging in shallow breathing. Taking deep intentional breaths can be so cleansing and calming. Deep breathing is a great stress reliever and we can do it anywhere and anytime. Each day take a few moments to just breathe.
Eat Healthy Meals and Regularly
Food is a type of self-care that people often overlook. We are often so busy that we may forget to eat regularly or substitute fast food for regular meals. It’s not always reasonable to expect people to get 3 square meals a day (plus snacks!) but everyone should make sure they get adequate nutrition. One example of a self care goal is Even if it’s a small amount, I will eat something for each meal.
Setting clear boundaries with people in our lives is absolutely a form of self care. People will violate our boundaries when we don’t have any. We have to set limits in our personal as well as professional life. This could look like not taking work home or not accepting work emails after a certain time at night. Setting limits allows other to respect your personal values.
Journaling for 15 Minutes
Daily Journaling can provide a space to connect with your feelings and emotions. Having a place to write your thoughts, feelings, goals, or whatever is on your mind can be incredibly powerful. Consider a daily practice of writing in your journal for a few minutes.
Talk to a Therapist
Talking to a therapist can provide a safe, supportive and empathic space to explore aspects of your life that you haven’t been able to address by yourself or in your relationship. It’s an investment in bettering yourself and a time that is carved out just for you. A therapist can also help you to develop a self care plan as part of your work together.