What self-care means to me and how I am improving my self-care routine

self care

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Self-care is a big trend in the well-being industry right now and it’s not something that is going away. And for the right reason. It’s something that we all need as human beings so that we can stay happy and healthy. It’s actually essential for our health but unfortunately, it’s very easy to neglect.

Practising self-care when you are always so busy can be difficult and the last thing on your mind when life is hectic is to slow down and spend some time on yourself, doing things that you enjoy.

A hectic lifestyle is certainly contributing to this epidemic of “busy-ness” and we are all guilty of it. Although ‘busy’ doesn’t always mean productive. Sometimes we do things that we think we should do but these things are not urgent or even necessary.

We should let go more often, relax, enjoy the moment. Stop stressing. Everything will be fine in the end. We should do the things that make us happy. Do them more often. This is what essentially self-care is about, although there is much more to it than that.

There are many aspects of self-care, there is a physical side to it, there is an emotional side and there is even a spiritual side. You don’t need to know all this to start practising self-care though. The first step is very simple. Just slow down and just be. Be more present, be more mindful, be aware of your emotions, your thoughts, your feelings. Let your body and spirit talk to you so that you can learn what they need.

practising self-care

Why is self-care important?

Self-care is extremely important for our health as it does not only help us manage stress, it also helps us boost our immune system. 

When we take time for ourselves to rest, enjoy the activities we love and be more mindful, this activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System.

Activating PNS  puts your body into ‘rest and digest’ mode and activates the relaxation response. This decreases the heart rate and reduces blood pressure. As a result, stress and anxiety are reduced, your immune system is enhanced and you feel more energetic. This improves overall well-being and helps to reduce symptoms of stress such as poor digestion, headaches, insomnia, etc. Self-care is essential if you want to stay healthy and prevent certain types of illnesses and diseases.

Ignoring self-care won’t get you far. If you are constantly on the go and under stress, this will have a big impact on your health and may even result in burnout. Your body needs rest and needs a break. Honour that.

drinking ginger tea

Ways of practising self-care

There are hundreds of ways you can practise self-care and lately I’ve been trying to think about how I can improve my self-care routine, how I can look after myself better. I’ve been thinking about what’s important to me, what I like doing the most and what makes me happy and relaxed. Thinking about all these things made me realise that I don’t do the things I love often enough. And I certainly don’t spend enough time on self-care. I decided it was time to change this so now I am slowly taking actions towards better self-care and better health.

My current self-care activities

I don’t think I currently do that many dedicated self-care activities, especially not daily. The ones that I do regularly are mostly walking, reading, learning new things, some meditation, listening to positive music, looking after my health by sleeping enough and eating healthy foods.

The activities that I enjoy but don’t do them regularly are things like watching a funny film, reading my favourite blogs, cycling, reading health magazines, trying new recipes. I don’t always have the time to do this kind of stuff but I know that some of them I could definitely try and do more often.

Lately, I also started following some inspirational Instagram accounts to help me take my self-care to the next level – to inspire me and help with my spiritual growth.

Emotional Self-Care

Self-care for me is not only looking after myself physically by eating well and exercising, but also looking after myself in other ways. Recently, I started to pay more attention to my emotional self-care. I’ve been trying to be more aware of my emotions, how I feel and what makes me feel in a certain way. I’ve been trying to process my emotions in a healthy way. Just let them be, observe what’s happening, experience the emotions and then let them go.

It’s really not healthy to keep all your emotions inside of you and not process them. Letting your negative emotions bottle up can be really harmful to your health, especially when dealing with anger

Mary Beth Janssen, the author of “The Book of Self-Care“, wrote in her book:

Our issues truly are in our tissues. Unprocessed emotions get stuck within us. It’s important to feel all the emotions that bubble up inside us, but it’s also important to know when to let go instead of stuffing it.

Mary Beth further explains: “Our emotions are at the root (squared!) of so much of our stress and discomfort” and “When you learn how to change your perception of or emotional attitude toward stressful situations, you remove their ability to negatively affect you.”

This is certainly very powerful. You have to learn to deal with your emotions to be happier and healthier. Not something that is easily done but it is possible. You can find various books about this on Amazon, I especially like this one and cannot wait to get my hands on it.

My self-care activities for the near future

I am still in the early stages of my self-care journey and analysing where I am right now is the first step. But I know I can do more so here are the activities I want to incorporate into my self-care routine in the very near future:

Attend meditation class

I’ve been meditating at home but I don’t have an established routine just yet. Sometimes I do it in the morning, sometimes later in the day. I am really interested in attending a meditation class so that I could really focus and maybe learn a thing or two. It would be great if I attend these classes weekly to get into some kind of routine.

Read fiction books

As a child, I loved reading books. I still do. And although I still read books, most of them are about health, business, personal development and nutrition. I really want to read fiction books again. 

Reading books is such a relaxing activity that transfers me to another world, making me forget about everything that’s bothering me in my life, making me release any stress that’s gathering in my body. This is one of my favourite self-care activities that I could do.

Get a massage more often

I am sure everybody loves a good massage, right? I love it too. It’s such an amazing experience that totally relaxes you and releases all the tensions. I had a facial massage a few years ago and definitely want to have it again as I loved it so much. I started doing my own facial massage more often but it’s not the same as when somebody does it for you.

face massage

I am going to look on Groupon and see what discounted massages I can find in Manchester, where I live. Massages are quite expensive but it’s good that you can actually get them at a reduced price and if you can save yourself some money, why not? I will also talk to my partner and see whether we can give each other massage more often. 

Have a bath

I am really not a bath person as the shower is so much quicker but having a bath with Epsom salts or sea salt is really beneficial. Epsom salts are great for recovering after exercise and sea salt bath has other benefits such as help with circulation and encouraging detoxification in your body.

I do enjoy having a bath though, it’s just taking time to run a bath and set everything up – that is a bit of an effort which I am not always willing to do.

Go to nature more often

forest

Going to nature is the best thing I could do with my time. Nature recharges me, calms me down, makes me happy. But yet somehow, I am not making time to go to nature often enough. Now that the days are getting shorter and darker, it’s really affecting my routine. I used to spend more time in nature when the days were longer but this has now changed. I think I will have to change my routine and do my nature walks in the morning, not in the afternoon/evening when it’s getting dark. Changing my routine won’t be easy but I have to try as this self-care activity really helps me feel better and happier.

So this is my self-care approach. Analysing what I am currently doing and see how I can improve that. 

Do you currently pay any attention to self-care? What are your favourite self-care activities?

You may also be interested in reading the following posts:

The Ultimate Health Care: Meditation
6 Benefits of Solitude and Reflection While Meditating
When it’s time to stop and introspect in order to be happier and healthier

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