Why Self-Care is Important & Ideas to Increase Self-Care
Self-care is a popular topic in my coaching sessions lately, as well as with my personal life as I was struggling (no more!!) with anxiety these last few weeks. Before we dive into the topic, let me share with you my definition of self-care.
Self-care: Actions, attitudes, and abilities for you by you that are necessary for you to maintain well-being, health, function, and participation in daily life.
What strengthens your wellbeing in areas of psychological, physical, and spiritual is self-care.
If you cannot participate in your self-care, then that means you do not have responsibility for maintaining your own needs and must rely on others in order to get those needs met. This is appropriate in times of sickness such as the flu, but otherwise not helpful for you.
Think of the airplane scenario with the air mask dropping down due to low oxygen in the airplane. The adult has a responsibility to take care of themselves first, then they have the responsibility to take care of the children. It is not the children’s responsibility to put their own air mask on, and then put it on the adult.
I’ve seen with anxiety, overwhelm, and stress, this lack of self-care comes into play. Basically, your needs are neglected, and your mind, body, and spirit are DONE! It’s like you can’t get out of bed! You are dependent upon others to care for you. I was there a few weeks ago.
When was the last time you were there?
It can be devastating. Soul crushing. I know you are feeling me. We are not alone, many of my clients have suffered from this too. It’s an epidemic of sorts. So, let’s look more at self-care, why it’s important, what it is and what it’s not, how I used it, and options for you to use it.
Then your action steps. Ready?!
Importance of Self-Care
Self-care is important for your physical, spiritual, psychological, professional, and emotional regulation. Self-care outcomes reflect to all areas of life, including but not limited to community, vocation, relationships, and citizenship.
Why it’s important:
- It helps with a positive mindset and emotional stability.
- Prevents burnout.
- Improves immune system.
- Helps with your relationships with others.
- Reduces physical effects of stress, anxiety, and depression on your body.
- You are able to give more.
- You are able to be more creative.
- Increases confidence and self-esteem.
What’s interesting is self-care activities will become interdependent with your quality of life. Want a better life? Add in self-care.
What self-care is not.
Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is essential for human life, it’s a basic need for survival. Every human needs it, and if you don’t take care of yourself, then slowly areas of your life will crumble. And honey, it won’t be pretty! Having your needs met is not selfish! It actually could be said that not taking care of your needs is selfish. Because it affects yourself in a harmful way as well as negatively impacting the people around you.
Self-care is not an emergency response plan. When you are crying in the bathroom daily, getting mad at the little stuff, reacting with the flight/fight/freeze response for no logical reason, then it is PAST DUE for self-care. You need a little bit of lovin’ STAT, YESTERDAY, LAST MONTH!! Be better prepared.
Self-care is not slacking or being unproductive. It helps with productivity, decision making, emotional regulation, prevents accidents (falls, hitting your funny bone, dropping stuff!), increases confidence, and focus.
Self-care is not meant to be stressful. It’s about rest, recovery, and rejuvenation.
What self-care is.
A HUMAN NEED. It’s the base layer. It is the survival of a person. It’s critical.
My usual and unusual Self-Care
In a prior blog post, I revealed that I started struggling with anxiety again (not anymore!). During this time, I increased my self-care. I needed that in order to get through the day, to nourish my soul, heal, and to protect my emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
My “usual” self-care look like this: I practice self-care daily. I get good sleep, walk, meditate, complete gratitudes, drink plenty of water, forgive myself, and take time to just be.
Going back to my anxiety that I was dealing with for several weeks, I increased my self-care, as the prior level was not cutting it.
My “unusual” self-care looked like this: I increased self-care with taking naps (I slept longer overall), asking for help, delegating tasks and saying no, walking more, created more alone time, spent more time outdoors, and slowing down. I watched comedies and listened to uplifting podcasts.
One day, I decided I really needed to lie down with my meditation and put a cozy blanket on top of my body as I needed that extra warmth and care. I completed a meditation in a different way than I ever had before.
Upon reflection, what I love, is I did not judge myself for needing more care. My husband saw me struggling and cared for me when asked (and times without my asking). I actively sought out help. I cultivated, created, and gave permission and responsibility for myself to heal and be well.
Now that I’m feeling better, I reduced the self-care back to the prior level. I still complete it daily, but not as much.
Ways you can increase your self-care.
To help generate ideas, look at your physical, emotional, and spiritual areas of life. I curated a list, however, I encourage you to ask yourself what task, comfort, or activity makes you feel better. Here are some ideas:
- Take a walk
- Seek funny and have a belly laugh
- Go swimming
- Get under a soft, comfy blanket
- Ride a bike
- Play a game
- Lift weights
- Unplug, turning off all electronics and be present
- Have sex
- Give and receive hugs
- Walk barefoot in the grass
- See a holistic doctor (naturopath, D.O., Functional Medicine Doc)
- Spend time with a loved one
- Get more sleep
- Put socks on
- Do something you love such as gardening, cooking, fishing, etc
- Learn a new hobby/skill
- Be in nature
- Drink coffee in silence while doing nothing else
- Go to church
- Volunteer/help others
- Drink more water
- Say “No” to things you do not want to do
- Eats vegetables daily
- Play with your kids (even adult kids)
- Read a book
- Go people watching
- Play with your cat, dog, or whatever fun animal you have in your home
- Tell yourself you love you.
- Forgive yourself for X, Y, and Z
- Go hunting
- Get a massage
- Use aromatherapy to calm and relax
- Get a manicure
- Write detailed gratitudes
- Get your hair did
- Play piano
- Dance in your living room
- Sing in your shower
Whew! Those are examples of self-care. Did you see any you liked? It doesn’t have to cost money, but it can. It’s your choice how to apply self-care to your day.
The point here is for you to have sustainable self-care for yourself THEN you will be more able to meet any of your other needs/ demands with ease and resilience, such as work, a relationship, or to care for others.
- A key action step would be to add your self-care into your daily calendar/planner. Before adding in your work appointments, social events, kid’s stuff, put yourself in first! Keep that promise to yourself. Do not stray from your date with yourself. Keep the date!
- Create a list of “no” of things you don’t like, don’t want, and will no longer do. This will help create awareness of what is not important to you.
- Complete self-care at least once a day, if not more.
- Give yourself the permission to love yourself.
Give yourself permission to feel good. Only you can give yourself that permission.
If you seek out signs or would like a nurturing hand, I grant you the permission to give yourself the permission of self-care.
You deserve it.
You are worthy.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. It’s essential, essential for your life!
Tell me, what self-care will you add to your day TODAY?