The term self-care covers quite a broad spectrum. For the purposes of this post, self-care means taking time to rejuvenate your body and mind. Self-care is especially helpful in times of high stress or high need. Busy parents are often told to incorporate self-care into their routine, for example.
Like most things, self-care is highly individual—what constitutes self-care for one person may not fit the bill for another. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate what works, and what doesn’t work, for you.
Where do you get your energy?
If the thought of a night out with a bunch of people sounds exhausting, you likely get your energy from quiet reflection or lower-key activities. Wanting time alone to recharge is most associated with being introverted, though everyone may feel like a break by themselves sometimes.
On the flip side, if spending time with others leaves you buzzed and excited, you likely get your energy from those around you. Most commonly attributed to be extroverted, this type of person seeks time with other humans to feel refreshed.
Self-care, then, works best when it caters to your natural tendencies. If you recharge by being alone, going to a house party may not always be a good form of self-care. If you prefer the company of others, staying at home to read a book may not always achieve the result you’re after.
What do you enjoy?
Self-care works best when it’s something you actually enjoy doing. Being at work may be time away from home, but that doesn’t mean it constitutes as a “break” from life! Self-care looks like chosen actions made intentionally to rejuvenate you.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Waking up early to enjoy a cup of coffee before the rest of the house wakes can count as self-care. So can a long bath, a good book, or a walk around the neighbourhood with friends. More formal activities like a pottery or exercise class can also count, but that level of structure isn’t necessary. What matters is that your choice of self-care resonates with you, and that you leave feeling better than when you began.
Self-care is necessary.
In a busy world, it’s common to put your needs in last place. But ignoring your very real needs can lead to heightened stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction with life. The truth is, you can’t pour from an empty cup—the best way to be there for those that need you is to purposefully and consistently refill your cup.
Putting yourself and your needs at the forefront isn’t selfish, it’s crucial.
If you’re struggling with incorporating healthy self-care activities into your life, consider talking that through with a counsellor. Counsellors are fabulous at working through these scenarios to help you navigate options that may work for your situation.