Self care is the idea of taking responsibility for your health, in all areas of your life. For example, there are types of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and social self care (and more too!).
Most of us think that taking care of ourselves is “selfish” or neglectful of others. This couldn’t be more wrong! Self care is important for your own health and happiness, but also for others around you too. But I get it- we were raised to think that helping others first is noble. And it is, sometimes.
But when it comes at the expense of your own health, then we run into a problem.
You know the popular airline phrase: “put on your own mask before helping others”, right? It totally applies here.
You can’t help others if you’re drowning.
But I also take issue with that phrase a bit.
We don’t need to do self care, only so we have enough to give to others. We need to be taking care of ourselves, because our health matters too.
Self care is a necessity, especially in these current stressful times.
First, you want to check in with what you are currently doing for self care. Are you taking time for yourself at all? Do you even think of it? Are you doing a little bit or a lot? Knowing where you’re starting from (with anything) will direct where you need to go.
Be honest with yourself here too!
Create a comprehensive list of 5-10 things you enjoy doing. If you can’t think of anything, asking others what they do is a good start. Here is what I enjoy: going for walks, meditating, coloring, exercising and cooking.
Planning out when you’ll do these activities is one of the best ways to ensure success. When we just say “I’ll go for a walk today” it’s easy for it to slip our minds. But when we say “I’ll go for a walk after lunch for 20 minutes” we’re more likely to be successful!
Think about what you’ll do daily, weekly or monthly as well. Maybe your plan will look like going for a walk daily, cooking a nice meal once a week and catching up with friends once a month.
Creating a full plan for self care is one of the best ways to ensure success. Do you need to get anything prepared? Maybe booking a class or getting equipment? Often people let the planning and preparation get in their way of actually completing a task. Don’t let that happen to you!
The next step? Execute. Let me tell you right now, if this is new to you, you’ll have resistance to doing whatever you chose to do. Remember I keep saying our brains only job is to keep you safe? Well this is one way it does that, by trying to limit new things because it perceives them as a threat.
One way of overriding that internal alarm system? Show up anyway.
When we make a commitment to ourselves, show up and complete the activity, we’re signaling to our brain this is safe. It won’t be a one and done thing however, you’ll have to keep overriding the resistance your brain gives you.
As you try out new things and engage in self care activities, keep an open mind. If something isn’t quite working? Change it up. We get so stuck on the idea that we have failed if we need to change something. That can’t be further from the truth! Being flexible with your plan and changing things if needed is self care in itself, not failure.
You’ve made your daily self care plan, which is awesome! But what happens when a crisis hits? Having a plan in mind for those occasions is helpful too. It’s hard to plan fully for a crisis, because we don’t know what’s coming. But having a few ideas handy can be really important.
Maybe you have a certain friend to call, who is good at listening and problem solving. Maybe you read a comforting book or the bible. Just having a few “extra” things in mind for crisis situations can help you feel more in control when it does happen.
Having a self care plan can be so impactful for your health. When we regularly check in and tend to the many areas of our health, it pays off for not only us, but those around us as well. We might even be able to find some relief from our daily symptoms if we’re consistent.
Do you have a self care plan already? Not yet? Let me know in the comments below!