Self-love Through Self-care

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.

Physical self-care

Grooming

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

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.

Diet

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.

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Mental/Emotional self-care

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.

Mental
  • Practice positive self-talk
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Drink enough water
  • Practice gratitude
  • Serve others
  • Get a mental workout
  • Manage stress
  • Have a hobby that brings you happiness
emotional
  • 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
  • Laugh

social self-care

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

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Spiritual self-care

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.

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Self-Care Ideas

With international Self-Care Week and International Self-Care Day (July 24) just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about self-care ideas that will allow you to truly take care of yourself. And just for fun, let’s start from head to toe.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Brain

There’s one part of us that’s working around the clock: our brain. Even when we go to sleep, our brain is working on processing everything that happened during the day, and sometimes we’ll get a taste of that when we sleep. Have you ever had a dream you were in a house with no doors? Then when you woke up you realized it was a representation of you feeling stressed and feeling as if there was no way out? That’s your brain processing your stress.

Self-care ideas: So how do you take care of your brain? There are many self-care ideas around this topic, but one way is through neurofeedback, a type of therapy that trains your brainwaves to reach their optimal frequencies. Because when are brainwaves are too slow or too fast, it can lead us to feeling more anxious or more depressed and even affect our ability to sleep and focus. So make sure your self-care routine includes a little time for your brain.

And for self-care week, Aspen Valley Counseling is even offering a discount on neurofeedback! Call to schedule your appointment after July 20 and before July 28, and you’ll only pay $37.50 per session (compared to the regular $50 per session or $100 per session of competitors).

Self-Care Ideas for Your Neck and Shoulders

We hold a lot of tension in our neck and shoulders because we’re constantly looking down at our phones or a computer screen. Have you ever had someone rub your shoulders and say, “Wow, you seem stressed?” Well, that’s because they can feel the tension in your muscles near your neck. When we are stressed, we naturally tense up, and that shows in our muscles.

Self-care ideas: You might consider making an appointment to get a massage or make a deal with a friend to trade a massage for a massage.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Stomach

Research shows that your gut bacteria is extremely important to your overall health. And we all know that a tummy ache is never comfortable. So, taking some time for self-care for your stomach can work miracles. Nowadays, you’ll find all sorts of suggestions for how to care for your stomach and digestive system. You might try a juice cleanse or probiotics or cut down on processed foods. If you’re going to try something drastic, make sure you consult with a doctor before you do.

Self-care ideas: Try to care for your stomach by eating balanced meals and cutting down on foods that don’t make your body feel good. Practice mindful eating, and pay attention to how the food you eat makes your body feel.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Knees

In the past 20 years, there’s been an increase in reported knee pain, so perhaps our knees need a little loving. When your knees hurt, it can affect the amount of physical activity you can do, including just walking or standing. So, taking care of your knees could save you from a future of painful walking.

Self-care ideas: You might try to take up swimming or water aerobics. The great thing about water sports is that water makes your body light and takes the weight off your knees. While you’re strengthening your body and muscles, you are being kind to your knees. A little exercise can go a long way.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Feet

If you’ve ever worn stiletto heels, you have been extremely aware of foot discomfort. Or maybe you’ve had an ingrown toenail. Ouch. But either way, all day long we are on our feet in some way or another, so what do we do for self-care when it comes to our feet?

Self-care ideas: Self-Care Week is a great excuse for a foot massage, pedicure, or maybe even acupuncture for foot pain. And if you’re up for it, maybe you can wear flats instead of heels for a week.

Self-Care Ideas for Your Soul

Then of course, we all need self-care for the soul. While all the other previous suggestions will definitely take part in caring for the soul, there are other self-care ideas that will are for the soul specifically.

Self-care ideas: You might try a therapy session, yoga, meditation, or drinking a warm tea while reading an uplifting book.