Updated: Nov 22, 2020
In times of global crisis, revolution, and a pandemic, it is important to remember to take care of yourself as much as you take care of other people and your loved ones. Since the beginning of quarantine, the focus has been so much on physical health right now, and rightly so, but many of us are having to figure out how to deal mentally in this whole new world too. When I say "we," I am definitely including myself! This is why self-care and mental health is more important than ever in this day and age. With over half of adults experiencing some form of mental illness in their lifetime, it is more important than ever to remember physical and mental health go hand in hand.
Self-care is vital for building resilience toward stressors in your life that you can't eliminate. You'll be better equipped to live your best life when you've taken steps to care for your mind, body, and spirit. Self-care should be a priority and can mean many things, however, unfortunately, many people view self-care as a luxury. People are often left feeling overwhelmed, tired, and ill-equipped to handle life's inevitable challenges when they aren't slowing down. It's important to assess how you're caring for yourself in several different areas of your life. Specifically what you could improve on or do differently, so you can ensure a holistic perspective when it comes to self-care. Complete self-care can be broken into the components of physical, mental, emotional, and social. In the following post, I have shared my tips, steps, and essentials for a complete, holistic self-care for one's self.
Keeping Organized & Tracking Self-Care
A planner or journal has been a large part of my self-care journey these past few years and I believe it has helped me manifest some of the most wonderful things in my life. Journaling allows you to take a step back to reflect on what is serving you in your life and what isn't. You can also reflect on your goals and aspirations on your journey of self. Journaling is a major stress reliever and soothes the anxieties of the anxious mind. If you aren't a fan of carrying around a journal, the app Grateful is incredible for writing down daily gratitude notes and little things that make you smile. Since it is a mobile phone app you can access your images, notes at any time to reflect on the small things in life that keep you going.
On top of journaling, I enjoy using a planner to keep track of my self-care and keep organized. Creating structure in your week reduces anxiety and sets you up for success.
Recently, I discovered the Savor Self-Care planner which is an incredible way to get organized and get in touch with yourself. At Savor, they often donate portions of their sales to projects, foundations, and nonprofits. Recently they have donated 10% of their proceeds to The Innocence Project, an organization that helps fight for equality and human rights. What I believe is the most important and pressing problems in our world right now.
Physical & Mental Self-Care
Physical self-care involves activities that help improve your physical health such as exercise and diet. Before assessing your physical self-care ask yourself:
Are you caring for yourself with love?
Are you getting adequate sleep?
Is your diet fueling your body enough and well?
Are you taking charge of your health?
Are you getting enough exercise?
Exercise, nutrition, adequate rest, and hydration are all extremely vital components of self-care, and of looking and feeling our best. Getting outside and active can make all the difference in one's mental state. It is recommended we get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Personally, I aim for 30 minutes of exercising per day in addition to two walks, to feel my best mentally and physically. Fueling your exercise with natural, unprocessed and preferably organic foods can make all the difference in your energy levels. However, when you require that cookie or Chick Fil A run go for it! Deprivation and restriction can lead to unhealthy lifestyles and mental states which I have all too much experience with and would ever go back to.
Self-care is far beyond exercise and diet. While staying hydrated, consuming natural, local foods, and having freedom around food is incredibly important, mindset is the most important component of physical self-care. Mental self-care involves activities that help declutter your mind from thoughts and reduce your stress levels. It is important to make yourself a priority and listen to your inner wisdom and intuition. As well as spending this time with yourself within Mother Nature. Connecting to yourself throughout the day by finding moments for self-reflection. Ask yourself “ how am I feeling right now?". Recognize when your intuition speaks and respond accordingly. Reading books such as "Embody ", "Intuitive Eating", and "The Power of Now", have all taught me valuable lessons on true body acceptance, love, and optimal physical self-care. I highly recommend learning more and expanding your current knowledge and awareness of self-care.
In stressful times of crisis, meditation and breathing can help calm your mind and body. Breathing exercises are essential when blood pressure is rising or anxiety is growing to acknowledge it's there and in that same breathe let it go. Take 3-5 deep breaths, and think of the stress, negativity, and tension as leaving your body. Meditation is very much a form of breathing. Finding 10 minutes a day to meditate and repeat to yourself what resonates with you such as “I am growing, I am strong, I am safe”, can make a huge difference in stress and energy levels. Meditation had been extremely difficult for me as my mind at times is running 100 miles an hour. However, apps such as "Insight Timer", podcasts, and guided breathing sessions can help calm and focus your mind on you. You can get moving with walking meditations, for there is nothing like a long walk in the fresh air to clear your head.
Emotional & Social Self-care
The key to having a healthy emotional self-care is to get in touch with your emotions. This can mean taking some time to meditate, journaling, painting, practicing gratitude by reflecting with others, talking with a close friend, or even seeing a therapist. Expressing your feelings and emotions is incredibly important to come into touch with yourself. Knowing you can accept but also let go of negative emotions, will make you an incredibly strong being. I enjoy speaking with a loved one, expressing my creativity, or journaling to reflect on my life at this time.
Socialization is a key component of self-care, as humans are highly social creatures. Social self-care is necessary to remind yourself and others that you and your needs are important too. Connecting with a loved one or even a loved pet can ground you. But, often, it's hard to make time for friends and it's easy to neglect your relationships when life gets busy. Close connections are so important to your well-being. So try staying connected and spending quality time with your loved ones. This is the best way to cultivate and maintain close relationships throughout your life.
What's your definition?
Taking care of yourself can take up a variety of definitions and can be related to a wide range of things, activities, experiences, or rituals. It can mean trying something new, learning how to cook, a new meditation, lyrics, new dance moves, setting a screen time limit, the list is endless! All that is important is that you are in touch with your physical needs, mental needs, and emotional state so that we can give the best version of ourselves to the world. Connecting to the Earth, others but most importantly within can ensure we live long, happy, and healthy lives wherever life may take us.
My own favorite rituals of self-care include:
Hiking with a friend in nature.
Drawing, painting, journaling, or any other artistic expression.
Epsom salt baths (Great for inflammation & stress relief!).
Trying a new recipe & cooking myself a homemade meal.
Getting outside! Get out to the beach, woods, or whatever greenery you may have nearby & feel your stress melt away.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you reflect on new self-care rituals of your own. Have some tips to share? Leave a comment below! To help ensure all of us lead gorgeous, extraordinary lives.
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