Written by Sheila Wylie
Self-care is an idea that many of us hear about. But what is it, and how do we put it into practice? Put simply, self-care is the act of doing something that benefits your well-being. It can be as simple as making sure you drink enough water every day or as elaborate as planning out a road trip with your friends. It all comes down to how it makes you feel.
In our culture, hard work and endless to-do lists are put on a pedestal. When balancing school, homework, work, and a social life, adding self-care to our plate can seem like another chore. When we neglect self-care we run the risk of experiencing high levels of stress and exhaustion, making it more difficult for us to complete everyday tasks. And if you are experiencing a mental health challenge, a lack of self-care can make symptoms worse.
So what about practicing self-care? It should be noted that there is no wrong way to practice self-care. There are so many ways to care for yourself, and you can practice many methods at a time. Some of my personal favorite self-care methods are coloring, exercising, eating a healthy meal, eating comfort foods, napping, and listening to music. Here are some questions to ask yourself when practicing a self-care method:
- Does it make you feel relaxed, happy, healthy, and energized?
- Is it interesting?
- Does it meet a physical, emotional, or spiritual need?
- Can it fit into my schedule?
- Is it helping me grow as a person?
- Is it safe, free or affordable, and legal?
- Does it give me a sense of connection to who I am or to others?
- Is it accessible to me?
If you find it difficult to maintain a practice of self-care, try blocking off a specific time for it. Consider telling a parent, teacher, or friend know about your need to take time for yourself. You can share the time, activity, or what you hope to gain from it with them. Communicating how you would feel supported will help others know what they can do. It might also inspire them to engage in taking care of themselves. You may want someone to join an activity with you, or even start a self-care challenge!
In our busy lives, it is easy to let our own well-being slip. Self-care is so important in helping us be healthy and happy individuals. So, get inspired and engage in some self-care!