Self-care is the act of taking care of your overall well-being. It’s about taking proper care of yourself which looks different for everyone.
Self-care isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s scheduling that doctor’s appointment you’ve been avoiding, tackling the week-old sink full of dishes, or finding the strength to take a shower after being consumed by depression.
When you’re feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, or depressed, taking care of yourself is essential to picking yourself back up. Self-care is not a luxury, it’s something that should be prioritized.
There are many types of self-care a person can practice. These include:
Self-care is about loving yourself and putting your needs first.
We all have responsibilities we have to tend to daily. Because of this, it can be difficult to prioritize ourselves.
We might struggle to put our needs first if we have a massive list of tasks to complete or if we have other people to care for. This can leave us feeling stressed out and anxious or make our lives more difficult.
Regardless of how busy you are, it’s vital to carve out “me time”.
9 Self-Care Practices
1. Shadow Work
When we do shadow work, we deal with our shadow selves or the “dark” part of ourselves. These are the parts of us we repress or ignore. Shadow work is about bringing it all to the surface and working through it.
When doing shadow work, you’re bringing to the surface things that are uncomfortable and things you’d rather keep hidden.
Some ways to do shadow work include:
- Paying attention to what makes your shadow self come up
2. Good Sleep Hygiene
Not getting an adequate amount of sleep can negatively impact your mental and physical health.
If you’re already stressed out, it can cause you to struggle with your sleep. The key will be managing your stress. Insomnia, which is having issues falling or staying asleep can add to your stress.
If you’re struggling with insomnia, it needs to be addressed immediately.
There are some habits you can implement to help you get a better night’s rest.
- Establish a bedtime
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine
- Make your room quiet and comfortable
- Avoid electronics close to bedtime
- Keep a stress journal
If your insomnia persists, it might be time to speak with a medical professional.
3. Embrace Your Inner Child
Sometimes self-care can involve having fun and doing things you enjoy.
Think back to when you were a child, what kind of things did you enjoy? Take time to embrace your inner child and engage in activities your younger self loved.
For more information on working with your inner child, check out this blog post.
4. Get Creative
Going back to making time for fun, sometimes self-care looks like tapping into our creative energy. Being creative is great for our mental and emotional self-care.
Creativity can help us connect with ourselves on a more meaningful level. It can also relieve stress and anxiety.
Take time to explore creative outlets. Maybe you enjoy getting messy while painting, doing some creative writing, or making arts and crafts.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure it brings you joy.
5. Schedule Appointments
I’ll be the first to admit I’m good for putting off doctor’s appointments. I’ll wait until the last minute to schedule or I’ll constantly reschedule appointments. A part of self-care is taking care of your mental and physical well-being.
Schedule that session with a therapist you’ve been avoiding or make an appointment with your doctor to get a checkup.
Taking care of yourself means doing the things you don’t feel like doing.
6. Take A Mental Health Day
Your mental health should always come first but I know for some of us, this isn’t always possible.
If you have a mental illness or struggle with your mental health in any way, you know how difficult it can be to get up every day and tend to your responsibilities. Sometimes depression sweeps in and consumes us or we’re overwhelmed by work or school tasks.
When this happens, we often need a break.
Taking a mental health day isn’t something you should feel guilty for doing.
Remember that you can’t give your work 100 percent effort if you’re not taking the time to fill your cup.
7. Eat Nutritious Meals
Eating right is a form of caring for yourself. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite comfort foods, but it’s important to fill your body with healthy food.
You don’t have to make too many changes at once. You can start off small by swapping out snacks like potato chips or candy for fruits and veggies.
This is also a great time to practice eating mindfully. Many of us multitask while we’re eating. Take this opportunity to limit distractions while enjoying your meal.
8. Practice Good Hygiene
Those of us living with mental illness know how difficult it can be to practice good hygiene when we’re having an episode.
There have been times I’ve been too depressed to get out of bed which means I neglected taking care of my personal hygiene. I’ve reached a point where I try to force myself to shower, brush my teeth, and wash my face, even if I’m experiencing a severe episode.
If you’ve been struggling to do these things, I encourage you to push yourself to get them done. If taking a shower feels like too much, cleanse yourself with baby wipes or wash up in the sink. This might also help improve your mood.
9. Ask for Help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign of strength and can be empowering. Know that you don’t have to do everything for yourself, by yourself all the time.
When asking for help, you can start off small and work your way up to bigger requests.
There’s no need to do everything alone. If you’re struggling, reach out for help.
Self-care Is A Necessity
Remember that self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be placed on the back burner. While you’re caring for everyone else, remember to save some of that energy for yourself.
It’s time to stop neglecting yourself. You don’t have to wait until you’re overwhelmed and burnt out to practice self-care. You can create time weekly to fill your cup.
Starting today, make yourself a priority.