Love should always start from loving yourself first. It doesn’t mean being selfish, narcissistic, or indulgent. To love yourself means taking care of yourself so that you can be emotionally and physically healthy and fit to do your job, extend help to others, and do things you need and want to accomplish. This is what self-care is all about.
People are talking more about self-care these days more than ever. The pandemic has given us more time for ourselves with many of us working from home or spending more time from home. Along the way, it has changed and widened our perception of self-care. But why is self-care more important nowadays? And how can you prioritize self-care?
Why Does Self-Care Matter?
The COVID19 pandemic has shown us that nothing is ever certain. That change can happen in an instant. It doesn’t matter what your status in life is. There are just things that happen beyond our control. Anyone can find themselves in a challenging situation. Getting laid off from a job. Closing down a business. Illness. Divorce. Loss of a loved one…no one is exempted.
Prioritizing self-care is a must to prepare us for whatever challenges life throws at us. While mastering self-care is not a guarantee that you’ll get through challenges unscathed, it can definitely help you do better in dealing with difficult situations. Some of my clients say “Self-care gives us more bandwidth so we can manage challenges ahead with a little more sanity.” I couldn’t agree more.
Being mindful of your own needs also allows you to extend more support and help to people you care about who may be in crisis. When you take care of your well-being and are not stressed, you are more in a good position to meet other people’s needs.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself allows you to transmit positive energy to other people. As they say, you cannot give something you don’t have yourself. Self-care allows you to present the best version of yourself so that everyone around you can also experience and benefit from your positive energy and good vibes.
Here are more benefits of practicing self-care:
1. Self-care makes you healthier.
A huge part of self-care is looking after your body. That means making sure you get enough sleep every night, exercising regularly, eating right, and other healthy practices.
2. Self-care reduces stress.
Making time for relaxation is one of the most known forms of self-care. Activities such as listening to music, meditation, Reiki, getting yourself a massage, or practicing a hobby you love can help reduce stress and boost your mood.
3. Self-care improves your relationship with others.
The more you take care of yourself, the happier and healthier you are…the more you are capable of nourishing your relationships with people around you. Parents or carers tend to put someone else’s needs first, but they must also look after themselves, too.
4. Self-care improves self-esteem.
People who take care of themselves are more kind to themselves. Self-care can have a positive impact on how you see yourself.
5. Self-care is one way of protecting your mental health.
Prioritizing self-care prevents mental health issues (such as anxiety, healthy anxiety, depression) and helps in managing them if you already have one. While self-care does not replace seeking professional help for mental health issues, it can definitely help in improving your mental wellbeing and preventing mental health issues from getting worse. And in case you didn’t know, self-care is something mental health experts strongly suggest to their patients as a take home practice.
Ways to Practice Self-Care:
No matter how busy you are, always make time for self-care. In the long run, you’ll be more productive and have more available time to do things you need and want to do. Here are self-care practices to cover every area of your life:
Taking good care of your body allows you to think and feel better. Physical self-care includes proper diet, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep. You should also see to it that you’re attending appointments, taking prescribed medications if any, and making sure to meet all your physical needs.
There’s some truth in the saying, “You are what you think.” Things that fill your mind have a great impact on your psychological well-being. To maintain good mental health, be kind to yourself and embrace who you are, even your flaws. To keep your mind sharp, you can learn a new skill, solve puzzles, read books, or watch movies that inspire you. Self-reflection is a great tool too.
Are you setting aside enough time to do activities that fuel your mind?
Are you doing things proactively to maintain good mental health?
Human beings are social beings. Close connections are essential to your well-being. This is why socialization is important to self-care. Always make time for family and friends even if you’re busy. Building and maintaining close relationships take time and energy, but it also rejuvenates your well-being.
Every one of us has different social needs. You just have to know what yours are. Some require more socialization than others.
Are you spending enough time with family and friends?
What do you regularly do to nurture your relationships with them?
Also, remember that while we love to extend our help whenever possible and socialization is key to self-care, you should also maintain healthy boundaries. It’s okay to say no when someone asks for our time or energy, especially if you’re already stressed or overworked. This way, you’ll have more time for self-care.
Emotional and Spiritual Self-Care
Knowing the healthy way to cope with uncomfortable emotions such as sadness, anger, and anxiety is important for your well-being. To take care of yourself emotionally, you should know how to process these emotions in a healthy way. It’s important to find ways to acknowledge what you feel and express them. You can talk to someone you can trust, or engage in leisure activities to help you process your emotions or simply boost your mood.
Another aspect of self-care is spirituality. It doesn’t necessarily involve religion. Nurturing your spirit goes beyond religious practices. Engaging in practices that help cultivate a deeper sense of meaning, or connection with the universe can nurture your spirit.
One way of taking care of both your emotional and spiritual needs is through Reiki, a complementary alternative therapy that is safe for all ages and conditions . There is a long list of benefits of Reiki but the shortlist is that Reiki treatments help with releasing energy blockages, mental stress that may contribute to poor sleep quality, provide pain relief for chrnoic diseases or chronic pain, repressed negative emotions such as anger, resentment, sadness, grief and more. Usually clients leave Reiki sessions feeling much lighter, relaxed and positive. It’s like clearing the air, only energetically so you’ll feel super refreshed and grounded after a Reiki session. We call Reiki, lazy man’s meditation as it helps you let go of worries and focus on the present moment while being on the receiving end of the treatment, allowing you to fully immerse in the experience. Regular practice of Reiki cultivates mindfulness and awareness too, along with the practice of gratitude and kindness to yourself and others. Ultimately, Reiki promotes spiritual and personal growth so you can live a healthier, happier, and more balanced life. Reiki sessions can be done in-person or online (called Distant Reiki sessions.).
Self-care should never be an afterthought. Take care of yourself first and everything else will follow.