We often think of others before we think of ourselves, whether it be our parents, children, significant others, or friends. Self-care and self-love are often misunderstood as being selfish and unnecessarily self-indulgent. However, in order to take care of others to the best of your abilities, it is imperative to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical self first. Self-care and self-love are helpful tools for coping with the everyday stressors of life and can improve your well-being.
What is Self-Care?
According to the World Health Organization, self-care is “the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” Self-care is a broad concept that includes but is not limited to hygiene, nutrition, and seeking medical care. Consistently practicing self-care promotes empowerment, self-reliance, a stronger immune system, reduced stress, and increased productivity.
Ways to Practice Self-Care:
Self-care can be practiced in different forms. One form of self-care may not benefit everyone. People will adopt different self-care practices, and these routines may change over time.
Creating a self-care routine can be challenging to follow, but start with smaller goals first. With time, gradually add more self-care habits into your daily routine. However, don’t forget to pause and reflect on any positive changes.
Some common examples of self-care are as follows:
- Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule
- Making time to exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Eating 3 meals a day
- Spending time in the sun
- Connecting with nature
- Drinking enough water
- Taking vitamin supplements
- Taking a relaxing bath
- Getting a massage
- Scheduling doctor appointments
- Studying for quizzes and tests
- Repeating positive affirmations
- Setting boundaries and saying “no” more often
- Performing acts of kindness
- Resting and reflecting
- Expressing gratitude
- Unplugging from social media
- Nurturing passions and hobbies
- Treating failures as attempts for improvement
Self-Love Journal Prompts
- What makes me smile?
- What is one of my happiest memories?
- What makes me feel peaceful?
- What is one thing I do very well?
- What do I need to forgive myself for?
- What is my current self-care routine, and how can I improve it?
- What is my self-love language?
- What are 5 self-love affirmations that I can repeat to myself everyday?
- What is my biggest achievement?
- How can I create more time for myself?
- How have I grown as a person over the past month and year?
- What are 5 things I am passionate about? How can I pursue them further?
Consistency in self-love and self-care requires self-accountability. It is very easy and tempting to make excuses under the disguise of self-care. For example, harmful justifications include “I am so stressed. I am going to buy a new purse, even though I should save money” or “I am going to skip my workout today because I do not feel like exercising.” Taking the easy route while being stressed or tired can seem like self-love, but it is certainly depowering yourself. The temporary happiness wears off in a matter of hours or a few days. It is important to do what you need for your mental and physical well-being instead of what you want to do. Self-love should encourage growing, learning, and achieving in order to be the best version of yourself.