Posted By: Envision2bWell
Self-care is essential ALL the time, but especially during challenging times such as a life-changing event, illness, or mental health crisis. The good news is that there really isn’t a right or a wrong way to engage in self-care. So, where do you begin? Much has been said about self-care with regards to needing more sleep, eating healthy foods, or exercise - all of which are vital components of self-care. Yet, important as they are, there are other areas of self-care that are equally important. As you begin checking in with the self-care needs you may have, these nine areas are a good place to start:
Taking care of our physical bodies is very important. Sleep belongs here, as does eating, fitness (movement), and disease/condition management (as needed). While comfort foods might satisfy in the short run, take the long view and eat foods that nourish your body. Move a bit more to keep your blood flowing and your mind more clear. Keep medical appointments and get help if you see and/or feel that something isn’t right.
Mental health is just as important as physical health; indeed they go hand-in-hand. One mental health self-care practice that is easy to incorporate into your daily life is regular breaks to take a walk outside and get some fresh air. This helps interrupt the mental cycle of continual worry, and breathes new life into your day. Reach out to loved ones for support and seek professional help as necessary.
We have become so accustomed to the over-stimulation our senses with technology that we are blind to how it affects our lives. Staring at screens all day and all night means your eyes never get a proper rest. Listening to news stories about the latest issues keeps your mind over-stimulated and stuck on worrisome thoughts. Give your brain and senses a break by turning off the screens, putting down your phone, and finding quiet time. And, if your body says it needs touch, a hot bath or shower is a wonderful sensory experience that offers peace and calm.
Experts say that emotional self-care is often the act of simply allowing yourself to feel your emotions, with little to no judgement. This can be difficult, especially when the outside world seems to be constantly offering up unwanted judgements night and day, but it is not impossible. One way to proactively practice emotional self-care is to seek out smiles and laughter, maybe by spending time with a funny friend or enjoying a funny movie. In addition, when you need to cry, do so. Don't stuff it down. Cryng often releases many pent-up emotions, allowing them to move on. It's important to allow yourself to feel your emotions, whatever they are, but it is equally important to let them go.
Healthy relationships can be shelters in the storm when we go through times of trouble. Spend time with loved ones who you trust and feel supported by. An often forgotten and neglected relationship in the realm of relationship self-care is your relationship with yourself. How you talk to yourself and interact with yourself matters. Kindness and grace towards yourself (and others) is a vital aspect of self-care.
Spiritual self-care is less about what you believe and more about what you do. There are many spiritual practices that can benefit you such as meditation, prayer, awe, gratitude, and being present. Science shows, for instance, that a quick dose of awe could lead to measurable increases in well-being. Awe is about being present to the beauty of the ordinary, or rather what we view as 'ordinary' we're not paying enough attention to it to realize it is actually miraculous.
Financial stress can be extremely challenging because it tends to permeate many areas of your life - relationships, mental health, physical health and more. One of the best things you can do for financial self-care is to build an 'emergency fund' that will carry you through any tough spots such as job loss and other financial setbacks. Knowing you have the necessary back-up funds will relieve a great deal of underlying tension and anxiety.
Work is a huge part of many people's lives. Maintaining a proper life/work balance is an important aspect of self-care. Setting hard boundaries between 'work time' and 'personal time' is a great first step. In addition, cultivating healthy relationships at work is an important aspect to this type of self-care. Find a mentor, join a professional network of colleagues in similar industries or professions, or reach out to a fellow co-worker. Don't try to 'go it alone'.
During a crisis, we don’t often think about caring for our creative sides. Yet, creative pursuits are a uniquely wonderful outlet in times of crisis. There are so many ways to be creative, it's impossible to list them all, but here are a few ideas to get you started: Paint (even if you don't think you're any good, it doesn't matter!), color, write a poem, sew or embroider, make a new centerpiece for your dining room table, carve a bird feeder... the possibilities are endless!
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