Self-Care Basics: Why is it important and how can we practice it?
Last updated: May 2018
Self-care has been an ever-evolving concept in our world for decades. Originally, the World Health Organization defined self-care in the 1980’s as “activities individuals, families and communities undertake with the intention of enhancing health, preventing disease, limiting illness, and restoring health.” Since then, however, our world has changed dramatically. New pressures stemming from social media, the ever-expanding workday, economic and political changes, and health care innovations have arisen and moved to the forefront of our daily experiences. It is important, now more than ever, that we update our self-care definitions and practices to meet the demands of our crazy world today.
Self-care can take on many forms, from the “treat yo’ self” mentality we hear on TV, where trips to fancy spas are taken or copious amounts of money are spent, to just taking a simple ten second break to breathe and re-center our emotions. While there are many ways we can care for ourselves, the most important outcome is that we feel ready and capable to take on whatever life throws at us; from daily negativity or stress, to the challenges of battling a chronic illness. Although its definition and practice can vary, here are some sure-fire ways to implement self-care in your daily life!
The best way to prepare our body to fight off whatever comes at it is by giving it a solid foundation to work off of. Higher energy levels, clearer mental states, and overall wellness can be directly attributed to what we put into our bodies. Drinking eight glasses of water a day and getting your daily servings of fruits and veggies can help your body be ready to fight whatever comes next!
Taking time out of your day to giggle can improve your mood and help lift your spirits. Funny animal videos on YouTube, a favorite TV show, new movie, or comedy show could lead you to your next belly laugh and a brighter outlook on whatever you may be facing right now!
Yoga is an excellent, and often underrated, self-care practice. Exercise is key when taking care of your body, however, it isn’t always feasible for everyone, especially those battling chronic conditions. While yoga may seem intense or confusing, what many don’t realize is that there are many, many different forms of it. There are many low-impact or mindful-based yoga practices that can help you re-center your thoughts and get a little bit of a stretch without causing too much exertion.
Of course, this will always still make the list when it comes to self-care. Take yourself out to dinner or a movie you’ve been dying to see! If you can’t make it out of the house, order your favorite meal for delivery or go online shopping. As long as you practice moderation and know what is feasible for you in the long run, a nice treat can go a long way!
Go Beyond Just You
Self-care doesn’t have to be a lonely activity. Catching up with an old friend, or scheduling a coffee date with someone who makes you feel motivated and bright can invigorate you to a new level!
No matter how you practice self-care, it is important to remember that it is a never-ending commitment. No self-care method will cure all of your needs in one sitting. Your body and your mind should always be a priority, and the more attention you pay to what YOU need, the greater the impact it will have in the long run!!
What healthy habits do you use to improve the quality of your life?