Self-Care Isn't Selfish
Updated: Mar 2, 2019
How to practice physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self-care
Do you take care of everyone else and then forget to take care of yourself?
This is a common problem we face in our overworked, overbooked and over-committed lives. We have been conditioned by society to believe that taking time for our selves is indulgent, selfish and rude. This has made us feel that serving others means putting our own needs near the end of the priority list.
But what if I told you, it's not selfish to take care of your needs. It is part of your happiness and is absolutely necessary for your survival. When you take care of yourself, you'll be able to love more. When you create self care practices you come to realize that your happiness lies completely in your hands. When you care for yourself you'll become more confident and in control. You'll create a ripple effect for change within yourself and perhaps you'll even inspire others to begin to do the same!
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is taking the time to attend to your basic physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. Taking a moment to check in and ask yourself, "How are you doing today? What do you need?" Then attend to those needs the best you possibly can. When we fill up our own energy tank, it's only then can we fully give our best to those around us. As self-care becomes a healthy habit in managing well-being, you will become more present and enjoy life more. Your relationship with your self and others will improve as well.
Begin with defining what self-care means to you. It can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. If you have no idea where to start, I'm about to break down each category for you to help discover what your soul needs. Self-care is limitless and specific to each individual person. It is more than just soaking in the tub after a long day, although that can be pretty amazing!
Self-care happens on four levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Some times one activity will cover all four, that's a bonus! As long as you feel like you have recharged on all levels, embrace it!
I've created a printable Self-Care Plan to get your needs down on paper. I encourage you to check it out once you read through this post. You'll have a better understanding of all the categories of self-care and you'll be able to fill your plan with things that bring you joy and fully support your well being. Your Self-Care Plan will create a commitment that's specific to your needs!
Physical self-care is so important to your overall health. It's usually the first thing people think about when they hear self-care. When we are stressed often we feel it in our bodies first. Find ways to get some fresh blood moving through your body or sink into bed early for a good nights rest. Any activity that tends to your physical body will help you recharge and fill you with energy to enjoy your day.
Here are some ways to enhance your physical self-care:
+ Create a fitness routine like working out, practicing yoga or going for a walk or run.
+ Get your hair done or spend some time in treatment at a spa. These acts of self-love give a boost of confidence and you usually can't do anything else during these times but be present and enjoy!
+ Having a shower or a relaxing soak in the tub. Water is one of the most commonly used elements in rituals. Without water there would be no life. No wonder we find it so refreshing and recharging!
+ Visit a green house
+ Develop a sleep routine and really prioritize a good nights rest
+ Wake up when your alarm goes off the first time. Resist hitting the snooze button in the morning. It resets your sleep cycle and when the alarm sounds again you'll wake up more tired and you'll probably feel out of sorts all day
+ Eat in more than you eat out. Prepare delicious and nutritious meals at home and have fun doing it!
+ Get 15 minutes of sun and fresh air
+ Drink lots of water. You're basically a house plant with emotions
+ Laugh! - Snorting gains extra points
+ Use essential oils therapeutically. Oils are quite literally magic in a bottle! There are so many healing properties and benefits beyond just smelling nice
Our emotions are energy in motion. Have you ever walked into a room full of all your favourite people and just felt the positive energy was over-flowing? How about walking into a room where two people have just been arguing? Maybe you didn't witness the argument, but you can definitely still feel it. Our emotional energy is so powerful it lingers.
Positive emotions of happiness, love, gratitude and excitement are the easy ones to feel, we whole heartedly welcome those! But unprocessed painful emotions from the past that are not so fun to feel can project onto our current situations. These feelings tend to be stuffed down and then come out later as anger, insecurity and jealousy. It's usually why people are often stuck in self-sabotaging behaviour. When we gently bring the difficult emotions to the surface and fully process and accept them, they will be easier to let go and won't continue to negatively affect our current lives.
Here's some ways to bring a little more emotional self-care into your life:
+ Learn to say yes to yourself and no to things that don't bring you joy
+ Realize the importance of boundaries, find out what yours are are set them
+ Develop an attitude of gratitude.
Make a gratitude jar and fill it will one thing you are grateful for every day every day
+ Become aware of your inner dialogue. It should come from a place of love and respect, like the way you treat a friend
+ Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Mistakes help you grow. No one is perfect, nor should we be
+ Practice meditation - settle your mind and embrace peace
+ Listen to music - make a playlist full of songs that light a spark in you
+ Take time to let your inner child play
+ Reflect in a journal about what you are feeling. If something is bothering you, identify what that is and the emotions that come with it
+ Spend quality time with the people you love
+ Treat yourself to beautiful flowers
+ Talk about how you're feeling and ask for help from a trusted supportive person in your life or mental health professional
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment. Noticing thoughts and then letting them go - without judgement.
You may feel like you have your self-care practice down solid but then you realize you are still overthinking, worrying, judging others and yourself.
Being more mindful about the thoughts that come to surface can help you make the most of your self-care practices. When you shift your mindset to more positive thinking, the benefits of your self-care routine will be amplified and you’ll see a boost in your mood as well.
Taking control of your thoughts. Seems like a difficult task doesn't it? It really can be as simple as 5 4 3 2 1... Action!
I've been sharing the audiobook, The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins, with many people. It has completely changed my thought process and my ability to overrule my minds instinct to shut an idea or action down. It has taught me how to stop making excuses, take control of my thoughts and rewire them to take inspired action to reach my personal and professional goals.
Practicing these mental self-care tasks will allow you to care better for yourself:
+ Unplug for an hour (or more)
+ Don't sleep with your phone on the nightstand. Place it somewhere across the room or in a completely difference room at night
+ Spend some time nature
+ Declutter your space
+ Turn off the T.V. and enjoy a cup of tea without electronic distractions
+ Be present. Put down your phone and spend quality time with your friends and family
+ Practice yoga and meditation
+ Have a family game night
+ Adopt a hobby
+ Develop a new skill. You are never too old to learn something new!
+ Say no to added responsibilities and commitments you know you can't fit on your plate
+ Cleanse your social media - take out any negative or draining influences. Fill your feed with positivity
+ Take another route home. - Changing up your routine creates new neural pathways in the brain that help to keep it healthy and sharp
+ Pay complete attention to something you usually do on autopilot, like brushing your teeth, driving, eating, showering and your morning routine
Spiritual self care is any ritual or practice that we do to further our connection with our higher self. The higher self is who we truly are as an individual. Your higher self is the real you that is not influenced by the ego or fear. The higher self operates from a place of pure love, light and universal energy. It is aligned with your deepest desires and it's here where you'll find your soul purpose.
Taking care of our spiritual being is crucial to living a grounded and happy life. It's one of the most important and most overlooked of all. Your spiritual self-care can incorporate religion if that's your thing, but it also doesn't have to at all. It's completely up to you. Spiritual self-care is all about connecting with your higher self (and a higher power, if you choose) and it's necessary no matter what you believe in, even if you believe in nothing at all. The fact that you can't ignore is that it's pure magic that you exist here and now, at this very moment. Embrace it.
Here are some ideas to really get to know the soul in your body's driver seat:
+ Cleanse yourself and space with sage or palo santo to remove negative and stale energy.
+ Work with Oracle cards or receive a card reading
+ Receive a Reiki treatment to clear blockages in your Chakra's (your body's energy centres)
+ Diffuse or wear Frankincence Essential Oil
+ Connect with your soul tribe. There's so much power in finding like-minded souls on the same journey
+ Learn to decipher the difference between your ego and higher self
+ Introduce crystals into your life. When choosing crystals don't over think it. You are usually drawn to the ones you need the most. Decorate your home with them, wear them as jewellery, in your pockets (or tucked safely in your bra)
+ Follow the lunar cycle and plan your monthly goals around the phases
+ Meditate and practice yoga
+ Spending time in nature really tuned in, aware of your surroundings and using all your senses
+ Tapping into and trusting your intuition
What's really stopping you?
Learn to develop your ability to identify what's getting in the way of your self-care. Start to notice behaviours that stop you from taking the time to tend to yourself. Awareness comes first and then adjust where it's necessary to give yourself what you need.
If it's stress and anxiety, know that taking a few moments for yourself will help very much with how you are feeling. Over time with continued use of these these methods for self-care you may conquer it completely.
If you do not plan self-care or set aside time for yourself, you will find a reason or excuse to not do it. You'll find some other worry, project or tell yourself you'll save it for tomorrow or continue to put it off entirely. Don't allow yourself to be distracted from taking quality time for your self. You deserve this!
Are you ready to download your Self-Care Plan and get to work? I am so excited for you to get started!