The topic of self-care is becoming more and more important as the number of stressors facing each person continues to build in life. Financial struggles, workplace stresses, and difficulty maintaining relationships can all add to this stress, especially when paired with the continued effects of COVID-19. Amidst these stresses, it can be easy for a person to forget to tend to their own needs and take care of their mental and physical health. Self-care is this ability to acknowledge and healthily address one’s own needs, and involves a person tending to themselves in a way that allows them to detach from these stresses and engage in activities that are relaxing, fun, and rejuvenating instead. Knowing what self-care is and why self-care is important can set the foundation for each person to begin creating their self-care plan, setting the groundwork for learning how to do self-care effectively.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is a way for a person to take care of their mental health, but a lack of self-care can affect many different parts of a person’s life, leading to detriments to one’s mental health, emotional resilience, physical health, and even social life. Without an effective self-care plan, stress can build and a person can begin to feel perpetually emotionally or physically exhausted. Anxiety, depression, or insomnia can all result from a person not taking care of themselves in the way that both their mind and body need, and can even cause a person to begin skipping meals or feeling isolated. Ignoring one’s personal needs can also lead to the development of unhealthy coping strategies, such as turning to drugs or alcohol. When a person focuses on their health and well-being it allows them to detach from daily stressors, it can also rejuvenate the body and mind to be more capable of processing these stresses in the future.
What Is Self-Care?
Asking “what does self-care mean?” is a very open-ended question, and there are a lot of different ways for a person to discover their versions of self-care. Self-care is partaking in any kind of activity with the intention of focusing on yourself and something that makes you happy. It is a way for a person to put aside daily stresses to avoid becoming overwhelmed. It is done with intention so people can keep their health at the front of their minds. However, in practice, self-care will look very different from person to person. While some people may benefit from having a yoga session each day, others may instead find their mental break in the pages of a book. While one person may enjoy a good wilderness hike, another may simply need to schedule in time for themselves to just rest their bodies on the couch and turn off their work phones. Self-care is very flexible, and everyone should create their self-care plan based on their unique needs and interests. However, these plans need to be created with the intention of actively caring for oneself.
How To Practice Self-Care
Effective self-care practices will typically encapsulate several different elements. First, and most importantly, is that a person acknowledges they have needs and deserves to be able to take care of those needs. Self-care is a practice that revolves around treating oneself fairly, and therefore it is important to reaffirm that each individual is both worthy of self-care and is able to take care of themselves without feeling guilty about taking that time for themselves.
Self-care involves both physical and mental health, and effective self-care practices incorporate taking care of one’s body to help their mind feel better in the process. Things like eating healthy meals, hygiene routines, and physical activity are all important components to consider and should make up a portion of each person’s approach to their understanding of self-care.
This part of defining self-care is typically what most people consider when they hear the term “self-care.” This is one’s ability to take care of their mental health, process stresses, and detach from the responsibilities or expectations of others, in an effort to wholly focus on oneself. This can take many forms, from video games, starting an arts and crafts project, or even just sitting in the car and listening to music for a few minutes. These kinds of practices are highly varied from person to person, and are an opportunity for each individual to engage in something they enjoy without concerning themselves with others. Not only can these practices help a person continue to reinforce their own identity in a stressful world, but it also ensures that their practices can be restful and effective in however they approach their self-care.
Each self-care plan will look different. While it is important to have a day-to-day self-care routine where a person can take time for themselves outside of work or familial responsibilities, it is also possible that a person may want to take an entire vacation for their self-care. However, when creating each individual’s self-care plan, it is important to note that these two versions of self-care aren’t mutually exclusive. A person practicing daily self-care may still need to take a vacation now and then, and just because someone has regular holiday vacations doesn’t mean they won’t also need to focus on themselves on a daily basis. Self-care is a continuous balancing act between one’s own needs and responsibilities, and it is both fair and encouraged to continuously reevaluate one’s needs. This constant reevaluation of one’s needs and wants ties directly into the very first part of understanding and creating a self-care plan, and it is encouraged for a person to change their approach to self-care if stressors continue to build over time. However, it is important that a person schedule in their time for self-care, and treat this time with as much importance as they treat their other responsibilities.
With self-care, it really is all in the title. It is taking care of oneself. However, it is also more than that — it is finding a way to take care of oneself with intention and mindfulness, and without the concern of others. It is a wholly personal experience, and while self-care practices can absolutely involve company and companionship, it is still a practice that has a personal value that should never be forgotten. Self-care is realizing one’s needs, acting on those needs, and empowering oneself to continue to explore identity and enjoy life, all while processing stress and preventing depression, anxiety, or isolation from manifesting.
Self-care is an important part of daily life, and the proper use of self-care techniques is key to creating a healthy, happy lifestyle. Not only can it improve your outlook, but proper self-care can also prevent other negative coping mechanisms from developing as a result of the stress. If you or a loved one are struggling with the stresses of your daily life, Chateau Recovery can help you today. With a number of therapeutic approaches, all personalized to fit your needs and goals through daily life, we create an atmosphere where peers and professionals alike can help you create a recovery plan best suited for your lifestyle. Your time with us is highly personalized — we understand each individual’s unique experience with stress, anxiety, depression, or destructive coping mechanisms and work with you to create a comprehensive plan for your specific situation. For more information on how we can curate a plan for you, or to talk to one of our caring, trained staff members, call us today at (435) 222-5225.