Buzz Buzz... Let's Talk Self-Care
No doubt you’ve heard a multitude of people talking about self-care. It’s really a buzz word in both the mental health field and daily conversations. But what really is self-care and what does it mean for you?
In the context it’s often used, Self-care looks like this magical moment when you are on the beach listening to the sounds of the waves sitting Criss Cross Apple Sauce while the sun bathes you with healing rays. While that is a beautiful and serene picture of self-care it’s not the most realistic, and truly it makes most people feel as though the practice of self-care is out of reach.
So, what is self-care and how can we all access this concept?
Looking at the term head on, Self-care is the action of taking care of yourself. In fact, the WHO defines Self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”. That's a bit much isn’t it. I like the basic version of self-care which is simply taking care of yourself.
When we think of Self-care in its simplest form it can be transformational. The broad idea encompasses the mundane aspect of life from personal and general hygiene to eating quality food. Self-care can also include the types of physical activities you participate to the type of job you decided to work. The entire concept is built on the principle that you know what makes you tick.
But if you need more direction here are a few ideas to get you started.
Try to Get Enough Sleep
We’ve heard all our lives get 8 or more hours of sleep. New research is informing us that 8 isn’t the supernatural key we thought it was. It’s more of a range and it really depends on the person. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night to feel rested.
Practice Good Hygiene
I’m talking to you, new parents who have barely washed in 3 days since coming home with your bundle of joy. A quick shower is important for medical, psychological and social reasons. Good hygiene promotes a feeling of self-worth and can combat feeling of shame and low self-esteem.
Strengthen Your Connections
Do a little more than text a friend. Although we are in the middle of a global pandemic, we can still connect with those who are positive and loving in our lives. You can connect with family, friends, or even members of an organized group via telephone, video conferencing or create a small social bubble of vaccinated people you trust. In doing so, remember to always follow CDC guidelines when determining just how social to get with others. Research shows connecting with others increase our levels of happiness and decreases our association with high-risk negative health outcomes like high blood pressure and death.
Do Something Fun
Living can be hard without much help from additional stressors. Now imagine living with working 40 hours a week, taking care of children, or aging parents, food and financial insecurities. It’s emotionally, physically and mentally taxing. One way to find relief is to play, or shall we say do something pleasurable. This could be literal play like with play dough, coloring pages and little army men. Or find something pleasurable such as watching your favorite TV series, or taking walk in the park. Whatever it is, let loose for just a moment and have fun.
Get to it... Self-care is Good care.