Self Care is a major topic of conversation these days but what exactly is it? Is self-care treating yourself to your favorite coffee shop drink or slice of cake? Is it getting your nails done, buying a new outfit? Is it finding quiet time for just you and your thoughts? People have a lot of thoughts on what exactly is self care and what it is not. Here at New Leaf Counseling, we have decided to break down for you what we think falls under the umbrella of self care and ways you can practice it.
Proper self care plays a vital role in low stress and anxiety. It can improve your mood and your relationship with yourself. Self care is not selfish and it is not forced.
The point of practicing self care is to do things that bring you life and refuel you.
It can be practical and doesn’t have to cost money. Think of it as taking care of yourself so that you can take care of others.
Some helpful questions to ask yourself when preparing to practice self care include, what is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time but haven’t been able to because of busy schedules? What is something I enjoy doing- not a task or something I need to get done? This is an important question because choosing self care means making a conscious choice to actively fight against anxious cycles that our brain can spiral into when we start thinking about duties and tasks for the day.
By proactively taking time to engage in something to take your mind off of the anxiety, you’re purposefully shutting down the fight or flight response of your brain.
Acts of self-care often involve your overall health like eating foods that fuel your body, exercising regularly and getting a proper amount of sleep.
With these basics in mind, self-care can be anything you enjoy if it leads you to feeling relaxed.
If you’re having a difficult time coming up with some ways to practice self care, here are a few practical suggestions: deliberately involve yourself in a fun activity that isn’t likely to lead to stress. Choose a much-loved hobby, a regular social night with good friends, an appointment to get your hair done, a shopping trip or even just some quiet time to read a book. You’ll be amazed at the difference doing nice things for yourself makes in your anxiety levels and your mindset.
Lastly, some helpful ways to ensure success in practicing self care are, make a “no” list, schedule time, and do it daily. A “no” list is simply a list of things you no longer want to do that will ease stress or anxiety in your life. This can range from, no longer checking you emails in the evening, turning your phone off for a certain amount of time, or not going to an event or gathering that you don’t want to attend.
Keep in mind, we make time for things that matter; you matter, make time for yourself!
This might mean that you have to set a reminder on your phone to go on a 15 minute walk every day or that you have to schedule a weekly night away to read, go to a movie, sit in silence, whatever will bring you joy. Lastly, commit to practicing self care daily. This may sound overwhelming but it can be simply taking 15 minutes by yourself to meditate, go for a jog or take a care ride with the windows down.
We hope this post encouraged you to practice self care and think through the things in your life that are stressing you out that you could say no to. Just remember, self care is ultimately about doing something that brings you joy or recharges you.
If it’s stressing you out, it’s probably safe to say it doesn’t fall under the self care category.
We’d love to hear about the ways you practice self care or new things you plan on trying after reading this post!