What do you think of when you hear the words self-care? You might picture a hot, bubbly bath complete with candles and luxuriously scented body creams. Maybe you see your face slathered in a face mask and a fluffy robe wrapped around your body. Or picture yourself in the salon getting your nails done. Bliss.
The great news is that self-care can be all these things and more. Taking care of yourself and making your needs a priority doesn’t just involve indulgent pamper sessions. Nope, good old self-care goes beyond the bathtub as well.
To put it simply, self-care is any act you do with the intention of improving your mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s an activity that you consciously do to enhance your wellbeing, and honour and nurture you.
Writing your thoughts and feelings into a journal when you’re feeling down on yourself? That’s self-care. Telling a friend you want to stay home and relax instead of going to that party? Also self-care.
Really, anything that involves you putting your needs first could be classed as self-care, like buying a bunch of flowers on a Sunday just because they make you smile, or allowing yourself that lie in because you know you need to rest.
Even completing a task you’ve been putting off, like doing your taxes, spring cleaning the house, or having that awkward chat with your manager could be classed as self-care. Why? Because you’re nipping that feeling of dread in the bud and replacing it with a feeling of pride and satisfaction.
Why is self-care important?
It’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. Maybe you reckon you don’t have time to care for yourself or believe self-care is selfish. Perhaps you have great intentions but at the end of a busy workday, self-care falls waaaaaay down in the pecking order.
Here’s the thing though: self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s essential. It’s the very thing that helps you to perform at your best, feel good about yourself, and be the amazing person that you are.
With a proper self-care routine, you can better manage daily stresses and strains, deepen your relationships with others, find more joy and fulfilment in your life, and have more energy for the stuff that matters.
You know that saying about how you can’t pour from an empty cup? That sums it up. Self-care fills you up so you can pour positive energy in all directions.
Wonderful things happen when you make time for you.
The Rule Of Five
Not sure what you need or where to begin? Let us help you. Your basic self-care needs can be divided into five areas.
This is the basic stuff; nourishment - eating your greens, movement - getting exercise, drench - drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep. Taking these daily self-care steps will fill you with energy for the day ahead.
Sometimes all you really need is a good chat with a friend or a hug from someone you love. Yes, socialising is self-care too and nurturing relationships with those around you is the perfect way to make you feel connected and grounded. This includes how much alone time you need too – so don’t forget to schedule it in!
Our thoughts and feelings determine our lives and the way you talk to yourself can be helpful or harmful to your mental health. Learning to silence your inner critic and embrace yourself with love and kindness is a form of self-care, and a list of pre-determined practices can really help on those days you really need to mind your mental health.
How connected do you feel to your spiritual self? Nurturing this side of you is important too, and meditation, prayer, yoga, and sitting quietly in nature are the perfect ways to do this.
How many emotions do you reckon you process in a typical day? Researchers believe there are as many as 27 different human emotions. That’s a whole lot of feelings and it’s important you nurture them. Journaling and planning activities that relax and recharge you are extremely helpful.
How To Make It A Priority
Divide it in 5
When it comes to creating any new habit, we’re all about breaking things down into small manageable chunks. That’s why, when you’re creating a self-care tool-kit , it’s a good idea to look at the five basic self-care needs above and ask yourself what you need.
Could you benefit from setting tighter boundaries around work? Would a weekly catchup call with a friend help you manage stress? Maybe it’s your spiritual self-care that’s lacking. Write it down and make it happen.
Make a list
We love a good list at The Head Plan and making a list of ten things that make you feel fantastic can be truly transformative. When are you most happy? What activities make you feel relaxed, joyful, and confident, or accomplished, satisfied and calm? Have a think and commit them to paper. Hold tight, you’re about to feel AH-mazing.
Start with the basics
Want to live each day with bag loads of energy and zest? We have two words for you: Drench and Nourish. As humans, our most basics needs are food and water, so take the first step by upping your water intake and filling your diet with delicious food that nourishes you.
You don’t need to make drastic changes. Fill your Daily Drench bottle before you go to bed so you can go hard on the H20 in the morning, and consider adding an extra portion of fruit or veg to each meal. They’re small steps, but they make a whole lot of difference.
Plan a daily self-care & wellness action
Crack open your copy of The Head Plan and you’ll see we’ve made a special section to help you do this on the daily. Popping a self-care & wellness action into your journal every day ensures you make it a priority.
It can be easy to put everyone else’s needs before your own, but by making self-care something you do daily, you’re putting your happiness, health, and wellbeing at the top of the to-do list. And what could be more important than that?
All of us need little incentives to help us achieve our goals, so go ahead and dangle the metaphorical carrot by giving yourself a reward every time you complete your self-care action.
Stuck for ideas? You could book yourself in for a hair appointment after a week of prioritizing your self-care. You could put some money in a ‘treat yourself’ pot at the end of each day. Or you could put your feet up with a cup of tea.
How you reward yourself doesn’t really matter, so long as it feels good and incentivises you to do your daily self-care & wellness actions again and again.
Ready to prioritise your wellness? Here’s the thing about self-care. The clue is in the name. It’s something you have to do yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.
The wonderful news is that prioritising self-care is totally worthwhile. Not only does it feel good when you’re doing it, it can also help you get more out of life as well. With a proper self-care routine, one that nurtures you and makes you feel good, you can achieve anything.