Self care is more than just a pop culture buzz word, a trendy practice that will fade away as soon as the next fad diet, workout craze, essential oil cocktail, or med-spa treatment is discovered. Self care is more than just eating a nutritionally balanced diet, exercising, and treating yourself to a pedicure every once in a while. Self care is physically, mentally and emotionally preventative and proactive – it is any activity that enhances your self awareness and honors your true spirit. And it will make you healthier, happier and more deeply connected with the people and environments around you.
so, what is self care?
Self care begins with a strengthened mind-body connection. The stronger this connection, the stronger the results your self care practices will yield. Self care practices are anything that promotes physical, mental and emotional wellness – anything that you enjoy doing, that nurtures your spirit.
Some common self care practices include daily meditation, feel-good movement (think dancing, stretching, walking, gardening, etc.), self-massage (don’t forget the aromatherapy oil!), a good night’s sleep, having fun, eating mindfully (and nutritiously), and practicing yoga.
But there are a million creative ways to integrate self care practices with your daily routine. Some of our counselor’s picks include:
1. Take a photo walk. Focus on the beautiful and interesting things you haven’t noticed before. Don’t worry about the quality of your photos – it’s just about connecting, in a meaningful and intimate way, with the world around you.
2. Read an interesting magazine. Put down the gossip rag or the fashion mag and pick up something like Mental Floss, Smithsonian, National Geographic or Travel & Leisure.
3. Take an online course. What have you always wanted to learn more about? What skill have you always wanted to master? What language have you always wanted to speak? Carpe diem, my friends. There’s no time like the present.
4. Art therapy. Whatever your medium of choice, let the creativity flow through you and onto that canvas. Or that pottery wheel, that piece of paper, that napkin from the restaurant you had dinner at last night…
5. Morning pages. When you wake up, while you’re slowly sipping your morning coffee, fill three pages with stream of consciousness words. We’re not even going to call it writing. It doesn’t need to flow, it doesn’t need to be positive. It just needs to be whatever words flow through the pen and onto your page. You could wax poetic about the meaning of life, or pen a paragraph about a piece of string cheese.
6. Dress your pet in a silly costume and take a walk. You will make other people smile by doing this, trust us!
7. Stargaze. This is even better if you try to memorize a new constellation and find it in the night sky.
8. Hide positive affirmations at the local library. Write little notes of encouragement on post-its and slip them in between the pages of popular books at the library.
benefits of self care | why practice self care?
Maybe the question is more why wouldn’t you practice self care? The benefits are enormous and impossible to ignore:
1. Prevent disease & illness; it can reduce the duration of colds and the flu & even improve recovery from cancer treatments
2. It plain old makes you feel good; it increases your awareness of and connection to your body, allowing you to make better, more proactive decisions about your diet and health. It also helps you develop self-love and self-confidence.
3. Be more productive, engaged and connected; promotes focus and attention
4. Manage your appetite; maintain your weight
5. Improve your longevity & quality of life; develop an attitude of gratitude
At the end of the day, a strong self care repertoire will help you love yourself, and when you love yourself, you take care of yourself. It’s that simple. The benefits of self care will even effect the people around you, as you shift your focus from the ego to the happiness of others.
download our self care handout
What is self care? What are the benefits of self care? Our counselors have worked hard to compile this self care handout, The Little Book of Self-Care. Within the pages you’ll get answers to commonly asked questions about self care, as well as some ways to help you hold yourself accountable for practicing self care.
To access the e-Book, just complete the brief form below – and voila!