We are constantly surrounded by media, marketing, and technology, which make it easy to succumb to distractions and avoid caring for our health and wellness. Many people are overworked and often overwhelmed by the state of the world, which makes zoning out with a tub of ice cream and your favourite Netflix during your limited downtime show seem pretty appealing. While this can feel nice in the moment, it’s not self care. True self care tends to your emotional and physical health, rather than putting a band aid on the issue. Here’s exactly how you can incorporate more self care practices in your life.
What is Self Care?
According to the World Health Organisation, self care is “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”
We often see glamorised versions of self care online, like a spa day or a fancy manicure, but self care is deeper than that. On an individual level, self care boils down to the nitty gritty activities that will aid in long term health and wellness. Things like prepping nutritious meals for the week and prioritising getting enough sleep are examples of self care.
Self care is taking care of yourself, even when you don’t feel like it, because it will ensure that you are emotionally, mentally, and physically well. As a result, you can foster resilience, manage stress, and potentially live longer.
Five Ways to Incorporate Self Care
1. Create a self care vision board
Since self care often boils down to things that you already do to some degree, it can be helpful to write down what self care looks like for you. Include notes on what healthy meals you’ll eat, how you’ll incorporate exercise, how much sleep you’ll get, and how you can foster important relationships. How can these things fit into your life? Write it down to motivate yourself and visualise it in your unique life.
2. Plan self care activities into your week
Now that you’ve defined what self care looks like in your life, plan it into your week. If you want to run three times a week, plan out what days you’ll have time for it. If you want to eat home-cooked dinners, plan out when you’ll have time to prep them.
3. Make time for hobbies
Hobbies are an important and sometimes forgotten aspect of self care. Research shows that people who have hobbies are less likely to have low moods, stress, and depression. Prioritise time each week for your favourite hobbies so you can reap the benefits.
4. Use aromatherapy
Essential oils each have their own unique benefits which you can use to your advantage. When you smell essential oils, the scent actually physically affects you by moving through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system, which connects to the parts of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, stress levels, and more. Use essential oils and aromatherapy to set your mood. Whether you need mental clarity, stress relief, or an energising mood boost, aromatherapy can set the stage for your day and encourage better mental health.
5. Know when to say no
We often put ourselves last, which results in breaking promises to ourselves. Although it can be hard at first, setting boundaries with others and saying no can be one of the best ways to preserve your mental health and make time for self care practices.
Practicing self care can feel selfish, but it’s not. When you make time to care for your health and wellness, you set yourself up to be the best version of yourself when you interact with others. That means that both you and the people around you will benefit from your self care practices.