Self-care is a hot topic these days, but when actually done, a lot of people feel guilty or selfish for doing something for themselves. If this resonates with you, take a moment and reflect on this quote:
“You can’t pour from an empty cup. You must fill your own cup first.”
– Author unknown.
What if you couldn’t afford NOT to take care of yourself? What if taking care of yourself first meant that you had more love, more energy, more joy, more quality time, and just plain more of yourself to give to others? Self-care and self-love aren’t a form of selfishness, but are a way to ensure that we are taken care of first so that we have more to give to those we love.
Below are a list of ways to have self-care in all 5 of the areas of wellness.
For grooming make sure to keep good personal hygiene, have presentable hair, dress in clean clothes, men shave your face or trim your facial hair, and women put on make up or jewelry or whatever helps you feel nice. Good grooming can help increase self-confidence, self-esteem, and when you respect yourself, others will respect you more as well.
Exercise tends to have a negative connotation, but exercise doesn’t have to be grueling and strenuous. Exercise can be simple and the purpose is to get your body moving. Types of movement include walking, bike riding, dancing, yoga, stretching, and so much more.
Finding a movement that is enjoyable and that resonates with your body has major health benefits. Exercise releases a happy hormone called endorphins, it can increase your energy and focus, aid in bone density, and decrease risks of chronic disease.
One of the most important aspects of physical self-care is nutrition. What we eat affects everything in our bodies from hormones, energy levels, mental state, gut health, and illness. Almost more important than how much you eat is what you eat.
The easiest way to better the quality of food consumed is to focus on small, manageable changes that move you closer to a healthier lifestyle. This could be changing one of your snacks to a healthier alternative, changing one or two processed carbohydrates that you routinely eat to more complex carbohydrates i.e. whole grains, oats, lentils, beans, fruits, and vegetables, or substitute some of your caffeinated beverages/juices for water.
These are a couple of simple ways to get a head start on your nutrition and taking care of your body from the inside out. You only have one body after all so take care of it.
Mental wellness is very distinct from emotional wellness, but they are both so closely related that it is hard to differentiate between the two. Because they both influence one another we will be grouping them together here.
Mental wellness deals with the ability to process information while emotional wellness is the ability to express your emotions based on what your mind processed. If one’s mind is altered by anxiety they might be so fixated on one thing that they wouldn’t process their surrounding information like normal. If they are unable to process information accurately, then their reaction to the situation would also be altered.
Here is a list of ways that we can give ourselves some love mentally and emotionally.
- Practice positive self-talk
- Get enough sleep
- Drink enough water
- Practice gratitude
- Serve others
- Get a mental workout
- Manage stress
- Have a hobby that brings you happiness
- The above list will apply to emotional health as well
- Be more mindful- be present in the moment, be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and environment
- Foster healthy relationships and cut out negative relationships
- Accept your emotions
- Speak up for yourself
- Be inspired
Social wellness is our perception of belonging in relationships and how we interact with others. The best way to increase your social wellness is first to identify your specific needs. Do you like having a lot of friends or do you prefer a smaller circle with closer relationships? Identifying your needs will help you know how to proceed to fulfill those needs.
Ways to improve social wellness include:
- Be more approachable. Smile and let people know you are open to talking
- Pursue your interests and find like-minded people
- Join a club or a group
- Listen more intently and be more engaged when talking with others
- Reach out and keep in contact with supportive family and friends
Spirituality is the quality and consciousness of the human spirit or soul. It is a connection with something greater than ourselves. This could be worshipping a God or deity, connecting with Mother Earth or the Universe. The best way to develop spiritual self-care is to start. Find something that feels right to you and don’t be afraid to explore it. Finding our spirituality can help fill a hole we never realized we had.