Today, self-care is quite the buzzword.
And when we hear and read about something over and over and over, we tend to dismiss it. We stop listening. Our eyes naturally gloss over it (or we roll our eyes, and think, “Ughh, not again”). Maybe it even grates on our nerves.
But I write regularly about self-care because it’s important. And because there are different ways to understand it and make sense of it—and make it a reality in our lives. I write about self-care because we are worth taking care of. We are worthy of compassion, attention, energy, gentleness, joy.
Sara Robinson, MA, includes an excellent definition of self-care in her book Choose You: A Guided Self-Care Journal Made Just for You!: Self-care is “acknowledging that you matter: that your well-being, mood, energy, and thoughts are priorities and not afterthoughts. It’s taking care of yourself—body, mind and spirit—and doing things that help you feel good.”
Robinson, who pens the site GetMomBalanced.com, divides self-care into six types:
- Emotional self-care: taking time out for your emotions and engaging in pleasurable activities, such as seeing a funny film, dancing or going to therapy.
- Mental self-care: doing something mentally stimulating, such as playing a game, or something that takes care of your mental state, such as practicing self-kindness.
- Physical self-care: taking care of your body by engaging in activities, such as stretching or taking a walk.
- Practical self-care: engaging in activities that help you to feel calmer and more satisfied, such as decluttering and making a doctor’s appointment.
- Social self-care: connecting to your loved ones, such as talking on the phone with a friend or going on a date night with your partner.
- Spiritual self-care: feeling more connected to a higher power by meditating or praying or going to church.
In Choose You, Robinson includes a variety of insightful quotes and helpful ideas for making self-care a reality in our days. Below are some of my favorites.
- Buy a book you’re excited about reading, and keep in your car or bag. Any time you’re waiting, take it out and read.
- “Self-care is a deliberate choice to gift [y]ourself with people, places, things, events, and opportunities that recharge [y]our personal battery and promote whole health—body, mind and spirit.” ~ Laurie Buchanan
- “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two breaths.” ~ Etty Hillesum
- “Self-care has a cumulative effect. When you make yourself a priority on a regular basis, even in small ways, you’ll likely start to notice positive changes in how you’re thinking and feeling. And when you think and feel more positively, you’re sure to notice a favorable impact on how you experience life.”
- “Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean ‘me first.’ It means ‘me, too.’ You matter. Your happiness matters. Your health matters. Your dreams matter. Today do at least one thing for you.” ~ L.R. Knost.
- Create a system or routine for something that’s more stressful than it needs to be.
Remember that what self-care means and looks like is completely personal. Which is another reason I like to write about it: to share different perspectives and options.
So take what resonates with you—and skip the rest. Take what you need, and focus on your well-being in all sorts of ways. After all, you are not an afterthought. You are a priority. What would this fact mean for your life? What would this look like day to day?