What is Self Care?

Many of us lead busy lives, and often we can get so caught up in the relentless grind of daily activities that our well-being begins to suffer. We might start to ‘cut corners’ in ways that impact our physical and emotional health. For example, staying up late to unwind after a hectic or stressful day, or eating lunch at our desk so we can get more done, or skipping a dental checkup, or spending less time with people we care about, or opting out of things we enjoy – all because we feel so time limited, or we might not prioritise caring for ourselves. Over time, these kinds of behaviours can snowball and impact our well-being. It’s important to take time each day for self care. Adequate self care can reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood.

So what is self care? Self care simply means to engage in healthy, rejuvenating behaviours that alleviate stress…so that we can foster and maintain our physical and emotional well-being. Self care isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential part of looking after ourselves.

Everyone’s self care needs are different. But broadly speaking, self care encompasses:

  • Maintaining a balance between different life domains. For example, dedicating an appropriate amount of time to maintain and foster relationships, enjoy recreational activities, all while managing your work life
  • Physical Self Care. This includes aspects such as getting enough sleep and exercise, looking after your diet, nutrition and hydration, being aware of the impact of excessive caffeine, alcohol consumption, nicotine, or recreational drugs, or visiting the doctor and dentist when needed
  • Spiritual Self Care. Spirituality can mean something different for us all. It might refer to our connection with others or ourselves, or with nature, or with religious beliefs, or appreciating art or music. Spirituality might be about mindfulness, or participation in things that give meaning to our life, or practicing gratitude, or creative writing
  • Social Self Care. This refers to spending time with people who help you to feel cared for, or supported, or stimulated, or connected

Self care ideas to get you started:

get a massage – go to the beach – look after your plants – practice gratitude – talk to a friend – ride a bike – join a social group – lay in the sun – write in your journal – take a nap – go on a bush walk – leave work on time – learn a language – acknowledge your strengths – eat some fruit – play frisbee – do some yoga – do something nice for someone – drink some water – practice mindfulness – bake a cake – listen to the birds – visit a neighbour – pat your dog – floss your teeth – listen to music – hug someone – take a bubble bath – walk barefoot on the grass – watch a movie – eat lunch outdoors – practice slow breathing – sing