During the month of March, I decided to celebrate International Women’s Month by focusing on self-care. The dictionary describes self-care as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health and while that is an incredibly accurate definition it doesn’t really say anything. It can take many different forms and be different things for different people. For some people, their morning Starbucks run is a sort of self-care, while for others monitoring their blood sugar levels for their diabetes is self-care. Ultimately, self-care boils down to taking care of your mind, body, and spirit through your actions.
There are 8 areas of self-care and which ones will work best for you will be different from your friend, sister, and neighbor because your life is different from theirs and so are your pressures.
Environmental self-care is all about taking care of your surroundings. Making sure that your home and work areas are clutter-free, making sure you’re cleaning up after you cook, and other things like that. Examples of self-care in this area could be getting a dishwasher or hiring a maid from time to time (which is a lot cheaper than you might think). Another example of this is the minimalism movement, practical minimalism sees you decluttering and getting rid of anything weighing you down. Yes, Marie Kondo is promoting self-care!
Financial self-care is all about having a good, healthy relationship with money. Knowing where your money is coming from and where it’s going will help you reduce the stress money creates in your life. Making a budget for you and your family can seem overwhelming, but so is that worry that you won’t be able to pay the bills on time. Set yourself a budget, give yourself a little bit of spending money, and know when and how to tell yourself (and your family) no when you can’t afford something.
Speaking of saying no, this is an important part of emotional self-care! Take care of your own feelings and don’t be afraid to let people down from time to time if you’re not up to something. Other self-care you can do for your emotions includes starting a gratitude journal and being compassionate towards yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, love yourself in the moment and later reflect on why you ate that entire tub of ice cream when you were on a diet, then try to make sure it won’t happen again.
Physical self-care is all about taking care of your body. It can mean going to the doctor for that pain you’ve been ignoring, getting enough sleep at night, or going to the spa. Listen to your body, feed it good healthy foods, and move it around. Your body will thank you.
Professional self-care is all about having professional boundaries and loving what you do to the best of your ability. That means getting up from your desk when your productivity has dropped and taking a couple of minutes for a walk or vowing not to look at your email outside of work hours. It could also mean leaving a job that is causing you emotional or physical pain.
When people think about self-care more often than not they’re thinking about psychological self-care, taking care of the mind. This can include things like journaling, reading, leaving social media, and practicing mindfulness. Every other area of self-care will have an impact on your psychological self-care. When your body and spirit feel good so does your mind.
Social self-care is all about having a support structure around you that you can turn to. It can be that girl friend who is always down for a wine and rom-com night or it can be spending time with your family where you aren’t thinking about anything but being with them. Having connections to other people is incredibly important for your mental health.
Spiritual self-care is all about the beliefs and values that you hold dear and gaining spiritual awareness through them. This can include reading the bible every morning, meditating, going on a retreat, or anything else that helps you get more in touch with your spiritual beliefs.
Finding ways to care for yourself is critically important. Please find a way to care for self in all aspects of your life.