What do you think about when you hear the words "self- care"?
"Self-care" can be a slightly overused term nowadays but what does it mean to you? Do you imagine a luxurious spa with luscious fragrances, having a massage or maybe hot stones applied to your back while Zen-type music drifts around you?
Mmmm - sounds good to me and that would be a fabulous form of self care but.....wait a minute....I don't know about you but that's something I only get to do once in a blue moon and then it is usually comes in the form of a much appreciated gift.
Self-care doesn't have to cost money and just in case anybody is thinking it - and I hope you are not - self-care is definitely not selfish. In fact it is absolutely essential for everybody. Just like a car needs petrol to run we all need self-care to keep us going. We can't run on empty! We might try but sooner or later there will be a knock-on effect. Low energy levels, stress, low mood or physical illness can begin to take hold if we neglect to look after ourselves.
So what actually is self-care? There are a few wordy explanations out there but I quite liked this one from the geeks at Psych Central. " Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.
From my perspective it has to be something you enjoy. Not something that you force yourself to do or you most likely won't keep it up. You should be intentional about it though. Plan it, do it, relax and feel the good vibes. It also takes practice. They say it takes three weeks to form a new habit so maybe a good start is to make a three week plan so there is something different to look forward to each day.
Time spent in nature has been proven to be very beneficial in lowering our stress levels so perhaps putting that into your plan would be a good start. It can be whatever you want it to be. Reading, swimming, cycling, spending time with friends and family, meditating, painting, crafting, having a relaxing bath, having some alone time................... the list is actually endless. Experiment and see what works for you.
Until next time. Do take care!