Who needs self-care? You do, I do, we all do. Everyone needs self-care because we are such busy people that we often forget to take care of ourselves. Some people tend to be more in need of self-care than others, but we all need to practice self-care more often.
Dictionary.com defines self-care as “the act of attending to one’s physical or mental health, generally without medical or other professional consultation”.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life. You want a quality long life.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
Why Is Self-Care Important To Mental Health?
The world that we live in is full of stress and there seems to be no end in sight.
Living in a world with Covid-19, traffic, road rage, and divisive politics is making everyone crazy. Add in extra curricular after school activities, extended family, and food shopping and you have a recipe for massive mental stress.
Food shopping is the one that makes me crazy these days.
Social distancing is fine because I’m an introvert anyway. I usually try to shop early in the day because the rules around Coronvirus precautions seem easier.
And there is less hoarding now that you can’t return toilet paper and disinfectant wipes.
I just find that everyone seems really on edge in the store. Cashiers freak out if you accidentally touch something. Supplies are random.
I dislike the whole concept of shopping in this world.
And yet I must. Thanks to Covid-19 I’ve do a lot more online shopping. I’ve found some new products for my own self-care, like a hand massage kit and a pineapple lamp that makes me smile.
When I get depressed or have major anxiety, I’m like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. That puts everyone around me on edge as well.
Lately I am far more relaxed because I put myself first.
There’s a saying that goes “when mom’s happy, everyone is happy”.
It’s true. A lack of self-care can cause a ‘self-care deficit’ and an increase in stress, worry, anxiety, insomnia, and digestive issues. No one can be happy with all that going on.
If you think that might be you, see if you fit into one of the below categories.
I’d bet you fit into more than one. I know that I did.
Who’s Got A Self-Care Deficit?
Are You A Workaholic?
It’s not a bad thing to want to work hard and reach all of the goals you have in your life.
But when you feel like your entire identity is about work and all your free time goes to work, you end up neglecting yourself.
If you label yourself as a workaholic, it is time to incorporate some self-care into your daily routine.
The “Never Say No”Person
Are you someone who never says no, whether because you just want to be helpful or feel like you can’t?
If so, this is a negative thought pattern and one that is going to require you to focus a bit more time on yourself.
It can often seem like you’re just being nice and helpful, but when it affects your own life, it becomes just another way to neglect your own needs. Self-care isn’t selfish; you need to take care of your own mental and physical health in order to help other people.
Business Owners (including bloggers!)
People of all professions, including online, need self-care too.
When you run a business, it often takes a lot out of you.This is made worse if you work at a job and are trying to start an online business. You’re burning the candle at both ends and it’s a recipe for burnout.
The time and energy you spend working on your business is probably leading to a lot of neglect in your own life and personal needs.
Focus on self-care so that you have more to give to your business.
A Social Butterfly
Another person who might need to focus more on self-care is someone who tends to be the social one of the group. You spend so much of your time focusing on other people, that you likely don’t stop to pay attention to yourself.
Even if you are a social, extroverted person who gets their energy from being around other people, your self-care should probably be alone.
It gives you that little bit of time every day to just focus on your own needs.
Parents need a lot more self-care than they give themselves! This includes stay at home parents and working parents.
No matter your profession, your lifestyle, or the way you choose to raise your kids, you are probably not spending as much time focusing on your own needs.
You don’t have as much time each day for yourself, but even 5-10 minutes of self-care a day can make a big difference.
Practicing Self-Care More Often
Have you been trying to add self-care activities to your daily routine, but either don’t see the benefits or feel like you’re not doing enough for yourself?
This is a very common problem, but easy to remedy. Here are some signs that you might need to add a bit more self-care to your life.
You Don’t Remember the Last Time You Did Anything for Yourself
Do you have such a full plate that you feel like everything you do is for your job, your family, or your friends, and never for yourself?
This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons to practice more self-care.
If you try to sit down and list the last thing you did just for you, and have trouble thinking of more than a handful of things, then you definitely need more self-care.
I realize Covid-19 threw a monkey wrench into our lives. Try find opportunities to do something “normal”.
I went to the movies recently. There was only about 12 people there, but it felt so good to do something fun!
You Feel More Stress and Aren’t Sure Why
Many times, we experience more emotional stress and anxiety, but don’t actually know where it is coming from.
If you can’t pinpoint a reason why you would be more stressed lately, then you might be in need of doing more for yourself in the form of self-care.
When you feel high amounts of stress, try to add more to your self-care routine.
This is going to look different for everyone, but it might include:
- a walk around the neighborhood
- reading a book or writing in your journal
- listening to your favorite music and dancing around in the living room
- scheduling an appointment with your therapist
- trying yoga in the morning
- taking a bath
- attending a fun class on the weekend
- going for coffee with friends
The list is endless.
Self-Care is Not a Part of Your Regular Routine
For anyone who doesn’t add self-care to their regular routine, it is essential that you start focusing on this more often.
It should not just be something you do when you’re stressed or having a bad day. When it is part of your routine, it becomes part of your daily life, and it becomes something you look forward to each and every day.
Your Basic Needs are Not Being Met
Are you neglecting basic personal needs? This can be a big sign that you need to start focusing on more self-care.
This can be anything from not sleeping well enough because you don’t have a relaxing nighttime routine, to neglecting your mental health.
Really pay attention to what your daily routine is, not just with your regular job and other responsibilities, but how you spend your free time. Everyone has those blocks of time during the day between tasks; what are you doing with this time, and are you paying attention to your needs?
Assessing Your Current Self-Care Routine
It is not only important to understand the benefits of a good self-care routine and make sure it fits into your life, but also to reflect on your current routine and whether or not it is the best one for you. It’s likely that it started off great, but things changed in your life, and now it is time to reassess.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if it is serving you, and whether or not it is time for some adjustments.
1. When Did You Create Your Current Routine?
Self-care is just like everything else in your life – something that changes over time. The types of self-care activities that work for you today, might not be as effective in a few months.
It is a great idea to be mindful about your self-care and switch up your routine every few months to see if it improves your life.
2. Why Did You Choose Your Self-Care Activities?
Start with asking yourself why you chose your self-care routine. Be open and honest with yourself about the reasons, as there might be several different ones.
Did you choose them because you read they were good for self-care or your friend is doing them? Or do you actually enjoy them yourself?
Write down each self-care activity that is a part of your routine (even if not every day), and the reasons why you chose each one.
It’s okay if you aren’t entirely sure or you just thought it would be good for you, but isn’t. This is just about reflecting on what works or doesn’t work in your life.
3. How Do You Feel After You Practice Self-Care?
- When you have completed your self-care for the day, do you feel better or worse?
- Do you feel happy and relaxed, or just relieved it is over?
This is a way to be mindful about your self-care routine, so that you understand more about what is serving you, and what isn’t.
It can also feel like something that used to help you feel relaxed, now just feels like another part of your to-do list of tasks, and you aren’t benefiting from anymore.
4. Do You Feel Like You Are on Auto Pilot?
Many times, we do the same routine so much out of habit, that we never consider whether we are still enjoying it or not. The same can happen with your self-care routine.
Maybe you started an evening routine to relax you before bed, like reading. But you end up staying up too late and having weird dreams. This could indicate that the self-care isn’t caring for you.
This is why reflecting on a regular basis is so important. Maybe you want to replace reading with writing, doing a creative project, or a little bedtime yoga.
Related Post: The Importance of Self-Expression
75 Great Ideas For Your Self-Care Toolkit
This list is not exhaustive. There may be classes or programs in your community that are not available to me, and vice versa. These are just ideas to help you put together a self-care routine for yourself:
- Finish this sentence: “I love myself because__________________________.”
- Take a bubble bath – don’t forget your rubber ducky! And candles.
- Get a new luxe body cream to put on after your bath.
- While you’re having tubby-time, put on a face mask. Mash some avocado and honey together. Or beat egg white with honey and a little lemon juice.
- Read poetry. Better yet, write some!
- Plan a celebration or upcoming special occasion.
- Get some physiotherapy for that injury you got a while back.
- Treat yourself to something fun: chocolate, a new bra, or a good book.
- Go swimming. Not for exercise, but just for fun. Practice your under-water handstands.
- Write a gratitude list.
- Get a massage from a Registered Massage Therapist.
- Get a pedicure and/or foot massage.
- Do a spa day with a good friend. Massage and girl talk? #winner
- Visit a friend with a baby. Holding a baby boosts Oxytocin for women. #feelbetterfast
- Go shopping and try on clothes you would normally never wear.
Self-care is about tuning in to the real you.
- Call a friend and offer encouragement.
- Hit the thrift store looking for interesting finds. Then buy and wear them home!
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Give yourself a hand massage.
- Write in your journal. Read my post on journaling for ideas.
- Listen to affirmations on success thinking.
- Watch videos on places you want to travel to, to get in that vibe.
- Get a coloring book and colored pencils and get creative!
- Listen to Classical music.
- Watch a funny movie; the sillier, the better.
- Take a drop-in exercise class.
- Or a drop-in dance class.
- Go to a matinee and watch a romantic comedy.
- Hang out in a bookstore.
- Do crossword puzzles or other brain-teasers.
Don’t be surprised if you change your thinking in regards to some long held beliefs.
- Start a list of your wins. Write as many as you can think of and re-read it often.
- Organize your photos.
- Create a new morning routine.
- Take a different route to work or anywhere you travel to often.
- Try EFT (tapping). I recommend Tap With Brad. Clear out some negative energy.
- Listen to a new podcast.
- Try a new dessert recipe…and then eat it. Like the one below…
- Make ice cream in a zipper baggie. Recipe from Best Ideas For Kids.
- Drink more water.
- Put your mobile phone away for a couple of hours.
- Give yourself credit for doing the best that you can.
- Help a stranger. Donate food to a food bank; give someone directions; let someone get ahead of you in a line.
- Volunteer somewhere: animal shelter, Habitat for Humanity, or a Medical facility.
- Send someone a thoughtful note or a birthday card.
- Do a brain dump and write out anything that’s on your mind.
Clearing ‘brain clutter’ is a great way to make room for better ideas
- Spring clean your closet. Then donate the excess to a thrift store.
- Tidy up a cluttered area of your home.
- Organize your digital files and/or shred paper clutter.
- Go for a drive and sing at the top of your lungs!
- Trial a 30-Day gym membership to see if it works for your needs.
- Read a travel magazine to spark some new goals. Create a Vision Board.
- Get audio lessons and learn a new language.
- Take a cooking class.
- Go to a farmer’s market. Or go to an orchard and pick apples.
- Join a social/boardgame club.
- Attend church or an inspirational service.
- Babysit for a friend.
- Pet a cat or dog, if they are receptive to it (not a strange animal or stray…that could be dangerous).
- Put out the best china and silverware for dinner. And candles!
- Go on a hike.
Getting outside and around nature is really the quickest way to feel better and be inspired for change.
- Find a place near water (lakes, river, ocean, waterfalls) where you can hear the water doing its thing. Close your eyes and listen, if safe to do so.
- Make homemade cleaners to make your home less toxic.
- Go outside (weather permitting) and walk barefoot in the grass. This is also known as “earthing“.
- If the sky is clear one night, try to get out of town and away from city lights to check out the stars.
- Do yard work. No yard? Pot up some pretty annuals for your patio.
- Go for a walk in your neighborhood and spy on your neighbors yards. Who has a pool? Who is growing food?
- Cook a meal and deliver to a friend or neighbor.
- Donate old books and magazines to a hospital or medical office.
- Visit a museum or art gallery.
- Take an art class.
- Have a game night with friends.
- Don’t forget to stretch!
- Plan walking dates with a friend then go for coffee after.
- Go on a spontaneous overnight road trip.
- Hire someone to haul away stuff you no longer need, like old furniture or stuff in your shed.
Proof That Your Self-Care Routine is Working
You may be someone who finds it easy to add self-care activities to your routine, but you get a little confused as to whether or not it is even helping.
A lot of promises are given when it comes to why you should practice more self-care, but how do you know it’s actually making a positive impact in your life?
You are Inspired and Feel Creative
This is the result of freeing up your mind, reducing stress, and having enough relaxation time with self-care.
Many people find that they start to become more creative and have brand new inspiration after adjusting their routine.
Your Mood Is Better
A good self-care routine puts you in a better mood.
Everyone deals with days where they are a little irritable or grumpy, but a good self-care routine will instantly boost your mood, if only a little bit.
Think about how much happier you feel after you read for enjoyment, go for a casual stroll around the neighborhood, call a friend, or just have a few quiet moments to yourself.
This mood-boost is what you are looking for with your self-care routine.
You Feel More Relaxed
A good self-care routine is one that leaves you feeling more relaxed, less stressed, and even revitalized.
If after your self-care activities each day, you feel rejuvenated and like you can take on anything, it’s a good sign that you have chosen well.
The next time you do one of your favorite self-care activities, make a note of how you feel afterward.
- Are you better or worse?
- Do you feel like you just ticked another item off your to-do list and are you more relaxed with less stress?
- Can you feel a sense of fulfillment and calm, knowing you did something good for yourself?
Your Productivity is Improved
You may also notice that you have more productivity and are able to focus better on other tasks.
With a good self-care routine, it helps you focus on yourself for those few minutes a day. This can free up your mind for thinking creatively and being more productive when it comes time to work.
If you have trouble focusing, you might be facing burnout and that can be a sign that you aren’t doing enough for yourself outside of your work responsibilities.
Self care is one of those things you think you need to do, but many of us just don’t. Do your mental health a favor and pick out a couple self-care ideas to try this week.
Prioritizing yourself will feel so good!
Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!