The term self-care has gotten a lot of press in recent times. You can find tons of posts urging you on the importance of finding the time to take a bath or get a massage, among many other examples.
The concept around self-care is about listening to your body, mind, and heart to figure out what it is you need. What one needs will differ from one person to the next, and what may leave you feeling de-stressed and relaxed may leave me feeling quite the opposite (ahem, like baths).
However, the most important thing to keep in mind when practicing self-care is that it’s not just the physical act, but also the mindset that you take into that act. For example, taking a walk outside is not going to be relaxing or beneficial to you if you are distracted with thinking about everything you need to get done, challenges at work, troubles with friends, and so on.
Instead, think about what makes you feel cared for. Self-care is not about anyone else besides yourself. It’s not selfish; it is what you need to show up for others and yourself on a day-to-day basis. It’s a way to value yourself and the more you value yourself, the more you can value others.
Here are some of my favorite ways to practice self-care. Let us know some of yours in the comments!
This is a small but powerful form of self-care for me. I love the feeling I get from buying a new candle with the perfect scent. I have scents for different seasons and different moods, and often just lighting one as I work feels like I am setting myself up for success.
I have always been a reader. I used to tear through books and currently have three full bookcases even after my husband made me donate half of them. There’s nothing like getting lost in a good book and I know that I’m practicing self-care because I often have to set aside time to make sure that I can do it.
I love fresh flowers and I will buy them whenever I see a bouquet that I really like. There’s no reason or occasion except that I like the way they look and make me feel. This feels like an ultimate form of self-care. I’m telling myself that I’m valuable and I deserve things that make me happy.
As a personal trainer, it’s important for me to stay on top of exercise trends and stay active. Despite it being my job, exercise is important to me because it keeps me mentally and emotionally centered. While I used to exercise for more aesthetic reasons when I was younger, today it is much more about setting goals for myself and realizing the additional benefits I get from exercise, not just the physical.
I’m a morning workout person, so before I see any clients I get my own workout in. Like with reading, I know I need to set aside time for me so that I can feel fulfilled in my day.
Participate in Nature
I grew up surrounded by woods, so nature is in my bones. I’m also a Cancer and while I don’t know a ton about astrology, I know that I love water. Any type of nature is soothing and rejuvenating to me, so whenever I get a chance to go hiking or spend time by a body of water, I’m immediately set at ease.
Sleep is vitally important, which is a fact that not everyone takes into account. Our society often pushes for more – more work, more activities – and the first thing that most people sacrifice to fit it all in is sleep.
I’ve had my fair share of sleep deprivation, and as I get older I understand how important it is for me to have the energy to function at my best. If I’m sleep-deprived I can’t show up for my clients, my work, and definitely not myself.
I make it a priority to get around 7-8 hours of sleep every night and if I wake up early for a workout feeling drained, I will often skip it in favor of more time to rest and recuperate. You’d be amazed at how much sleep can improve your life day to day.
Play with Pets
I recently got a dog. I’ve been obsessed with dogs since I was younger and having her for the last month has been so amazing. A hard or stressful day is immediately better when I come home and am able to play with her.
Pets are a wonderful form of taking care of yourself and a great way to wind down at the end of the day. If you have a pet, make sure to love it today!
Interested in more tips from Erin? Check out her post on how to find the best workout for you, this one full of suggestions on how to make the most of the outdoors before winter and more.