What Are Self-Care Practices?
Self-care practices are any activities we do intentionally to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health. It seems like a simple concept, but it’s often overlooked. Think about it – when was the last time you did something caring towards yourself?
Self-care is key to improving mood and mental health, reducing anxiety, and maintaining a healthy relationship with yourself and even others.
Self-care is personal. Everyone’s approach will be unique. Aspects of where you may want to implement self-care strategies include:
Looking for ways to deepen your self-care habits? Here are some ideas:
- Set strict boundaries between clients and colleagues
- Turn off your phone outside of work hours
- Engage in a non-work related hobby
- Keep a journal for reflection
- Read a book
- Gratitude journals
- Spending time with a friend for support
- Listen to your favourite music
- Engage in meditation or practice yoga
- Practice self-reflection
- Community gathering
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep
- Eat foods that energize you
- Physical exercise for 20 minutes
- Get in touch with someone you haven’t talked to in awhile
- Unwind in the evening with your partner or children
These suggestions are only a guide. It’s important to choose activities that are meaningful to you and your goals. Self-care practices should help you feel fulfilled, refreshed, and in the moment.
Create Your Own Self-Care Plan
Rather than just letting it happen when you feel like it, self-care needs to be actively planned. Set aside time for certain activities to your calendar and treat them as important as you would your job. Be aware of when you’re implementing these activities, why you do them, and what the outcomes are.
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Brainstorm a list of ideas on how you can practice self-care in each of the above categories. Fill it with activities that you enjoy.
- Create a “no” list of the things you no longer want to do, or things you will not allow into your life. Some examples are: not checking emails after work hours, and not checking your phone during meal times.
- Start small and stick to the basics. Don’t create expectations of changing your life completely overnight.
- Keep yourself accountable. Write out your self-care plan and put it in a place where you’ll see it daily. You can also share it with a partner, friend, family member or colleague so they can support you.
- Practice these activities regularly. Make time for it every day.
- Re-assess how you’re feeling in a week or every other week. Check in often and see what has become habits, what needs to be changed, and what new self-care strategies you may want to implement.
Self-care should re-fuel us, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally. Self-care isn’t a selfish act either. Regularly checking in with ourselves allows us to take better care of ourselves, and subsequently, to be able to take care of others as well. Overall, self-care is the key to a balanced and happy life.