Self care refers to activities undertaken with the intention of enhancing energy, restoring health and reducing stress. It’s not always bubble baths and pedicures. It can also be about processing emotional reactions to our life and doing things that we might find difficult, like setting boundaries and saying NO.
Paying attention to what is happening to your body, both physically and emotionally, helps you to identify when something is affecting you. It is important to take time out when you need it to reduce feelings of stress and protect your mental health.
I always talk to my clients about feelings and stress. If we’re not talking about feelings and stress, then we’re not talking about the full human experience. It’s not always just about food. It’s also about your why!
Why is self care important?
When we’re stressed, self care should be the first thing we go to. Why?
- We go into the sympathetic nervous system dominance of fight-or-flight mode and our perspective narrows. We don’t see we have options – options for coping with stress and making ourselves feel better.
- We may not have a “go to” list of self-care activities. When we’re dealing with stress, we remember that, “I need to take care of myself in this situation.” And, you need a variety of activities to try, if one doesn’t work, you can switch to the other.
Fortunately, there are several pathways to self-care, and none of them need be difficult, take a lot of planning or be expensive. Here’s a list of ideas:
Snuggle under a cozy blanket
Cuddle with a pet
Stare up at the sky
Listen to music
Be a tourist in your own city
Go for a photo walk
Take action (one small step) on something you’ve been avoiding
Read something on a topic you wouldn’t normally
Try a new activity
Drive to a new place
Read inspiring quotes
Spend time in nature
Journal what you’re grateful for
Write your feelings down
Laugh and cry
Talk to someone about your feelings
Go for a gentle walk
Take a nap
Speak to a friend on the phone
Catch up with family or friends
Join a Meetup group
Join a book club
These can all lead to a calm mind and that’s the best self care strategy I know.
NOTE: The activities and suggestions above are a guide only and it is important to choose activities that are meaningful to yourself and your own goals.
Create your own self care plan
For each category above, select at least one activity that you can undertake. You might notice areas of overlap between these categories. It is important to develop a self-care plan that is holistic and individual to you.
Self care isn’t designed to be an emergency stress relief plan. It is something that can be incorporated into everyday activities to maintain a positive wellbeing.
Want help making a self care Sunday plan? Take a look at my private one-to-one coaching program Stop Punishing Start Nourishing