Your Self-Care Strategy 

Over the last few years Self-Care has become a true buzz word in the wellness industry. Many of us will associate Self-Care with indulgent moments: cue- a luxurious spa day, a bath surrounded by scented candles.. Or the more traditional, spiritual practices such as meditation, journaling, and breathwork. Absolutely none of these are wrong. There is no right or wrong way to practise self-care. But the most important element of self-care is that our self-care practices should be just that- our very own. 

What is self-care and why do we need it?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, self-care is “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” and “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”. In other words, self-care is anything we do for ourselves that helps us feel better physically, emotionally, and socially.

Self-care is not selfish or indulgent. It is an absolutely essential part of our overall health and happiness. Research has shown that self-care can reduce stress, improves mood, boosts immunity, enhances productivity, increases self-esteem and prevents burnout. It also helps us develop resilience to cope with challenges, such as illness, loss, trauma or change.

It is a crucial aspect of our lives that we often overlook. Many of us feel a tremendous amount of guilt around recognising our own needs and choosing to put them first. This can make us feel selfish or neglectful of others. But by neglecting your own selfcare, how can you truly show up in the world for yourself or for the people you love the most? We must realise that if we fail to look after ourselves it is truly detrimental to our own wellbeing, and we are unable to take care of the needs of our loved ones. 

By recognising that you have needs and choosing to make yourself a priority you start to nurture yourself and give yourself the care and love that you truly deserve.  You truly can live a more fulfilled, balanced, joyful life. You just have to start by looking inward and begin by taking care of yourself. 

Self-care can help us:

– Reduce stress and prevent burnout

– Boost our mood and self-esteem

– Enhance our immunity and productivity

– Cope with challenges and changes

– Prevent or manage chronic conditions

– Live longer and better

How to find, harness and nurture self-care?

Self-care is not one-size-fits-all. It is unique to each individually and depends on our needs, preferences, personality and lifestyle. Our selfcare practices are truly individual and what resonates for one person may not be what works for someone else. But the common thread that is consistent for all of us is our need to take time for ourselves.

The most vital part of self-care is the process of establishing what feels truly caring and supportive to you. Often we can find ourselves replicating what others are doing, we follow trends- whether that’s the latest morning routine trend or THE spot to get your morning matcha, we fail to figure out what is actually best suited to us, individually. 

So how do we do that? Well, there are three main aspects of self-care that we can consider: physical, emotional and social. 

Taking care of our physical, emotional, and social well-being by engaging in activities that resonate for us personally helps us to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge. 

Physical self-care involves taking care of our body and its basic needs, such as sleep, nutrition, exercise, and hygiene. It also means listening to our body and respecting its limits. For example, some people may need more sleep than others, or some people may prefer yoga to running. The key is to find what makes you feel good in yourself.

Emotional self-care involves taking care of our feelings and thoughts, such as managing stress, exploring & expressing our emotions, practicing gratitude, seeking support when we need it and engaging in activities that bring us joy and relaxation. It also means being kind and compassionate to ourselves. Recognising when negative self-talk or criticism is running the show and choosing to speak in a more loving, considered way. Some people will find journaling helpful and insightful to process their emotions, whereas others will enjoy listening to music, speaking to a close friend, or being in the kitchen cooking or baking. The key is to find what makes you feel calm and happy. 

Social self-care involves taking care of our relationships and connections with others, such as family, friends, colleagues and community. It also means setting healthy boundaries, communicating effectively, asking for support when needed and giving back to others. We all need different amounts of social interaction, some need more than others, and some of us prefer quality time over quantity time. The key is to find what makes you feel loved, seen and supported.

As you can see, there are many ways for us to practice self-care and it varies depending on each of our needs and our situations. That’s why we need to be flexible and adaptable with our self-care and adjust it as we go along. We need to be mindful and intentional with our self-care choices and make them a priority in our daily routine.

While our body is a miracle of self-regulation, we are much more likely to enjoy health and happiness when we nurture it with love and attention, tuning into what we really need and making choices that nourish our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. – Sheila Patel, M.D

Give yourself permission to connect with what you truly want and need. Slow down & listen to your intuition and tune into your needs. Don’t forget to pay attention to that little voice inside telling you what you need most. 

Here are some tips to help you harness your own personal self-care strategy:

  • Start small: You don’t have to do everything at once or make drastic changes. Start with one or two things that are easy and enjoyable for you and build from there. Many of us overestimate what we can do in a short period of time and wildly underestimate what we’re capable of in the long run. Committing to small changes consistently, brings about lasting change. 
  • Be realistic: It doesn’t have to be perfect, look beautiful, or follow a strict schedule. Be honest with yourself about what you can do and what works for you. Let that be enough. 
  • Be creative: You don’t have to stick to the conventional or popular methods of self-care. Experiment with different options and find out what truly works for you. 
  • Be consistent: Please don’t wait to be in crisis to practice self-care. Make it a habit and an essential part of your lifestyle. You really do deserve to look after yourself too. 
  • Be gentle: You don’t have to judge yourself or compare yourself to others. Recognize your efforts and celebrate your progress, no matter how small it feels. 

Remember that self-care is not selfish or indulgent. It is essential for your health and happiness. And remember that self-care is not one-size-fits-all. It is unique to you and your needs. So, find your own personal self-care that supports you and just watch how the quality of how you feel & move through the world truly transforms. 

Self-Care Journal Prompts 

  1. What are you needing most at the moment? 
  2. What are 3 things you can do to get closer to the way you want to feel? 
  3. How can you have more compassion for yourself this week? 
  4. If you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed, what self-care practices work for you and that you go back to? 
  5. What can you do today that you didn’t think you could do a year ago?
  6. How do you remind yourself that you’re enough?

Self care

December 22, 2023



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