Here at Zenith Humans, we see self-care as everything people can implement on a daily basis as well as on an as needed basis that allows and supports their healthy happy life.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is the intentional act of taking care of your mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. It’s anything that is related to improving or maintaining health and preventing disease or health decline.
- Mental self-care refers to activities that stimulate your mind or intellect such as reading a book or playing chess.
- Physical self-care refers to activities that support physical functioning and health such as exercising and getting adequate sleep.
- Emotional self-care refers to activities that support mental health such as meditation and seeing a psychologist.
- Social self-care refers to activities that nurtures and strengthens bonds or relationships with people in your life such as playing team sports or talking to friends.
- Spiritual self-care refers to activities that promote a higher or self-actualised self or are religious orientated such as attending a place of worship or practising mindfulness.
You will find that many activities related to one area of self-care overlaps with another self-care area. Two birds, one stone.
There is also practical self-care (aka adulting). Practical self-care refers to activities that are necessary to fulfill obligations or core aspects of life such as cleaning the house or paying bills. Having general life aspects in order helps to prevent future stressors.
Self-care is the everyday version of putting your own oxygen mask on before you help others. Taking time for yourself means you are able to support your friends and family as well as be a productive employee or entrepreneur.
Importance and Benefits of Self-Care
Given the rise of depression, anxiety, loneliness, stress, and lifestyle diseases self-care is becoming more important than ever. Self-care is part of the answer to how to cope, flourish, survive, and succeed in todays world. Practising self-care maintains or increases mental and physical health and wellbeing and allows better reactions (responses) to things that happen in life. Regular practice is associated with living longer, resilience, coping with stress, improved immune system, increases happiness, productivity, higher self-esteem, and reduced stress.
What Self-Care Isn't
While self-care is a growing mainstream trend and is prone to be abused by the sick care and FOMO industries, it really isn’t about being self-indulgent or selfish, nor is it reason to forsake others feelings and boundaries. Also, people may choose self-care that costs a lot of money (daily massages anyone?) but it does not have to be this way. If you have the money go for it, but if you are not crazy rich and indulgent experiences will mean you cannot take care of basic needs than these experiences are not self-care. Self-care also isn’t about following the latest trends (#treatyo’self anyone?) or changing your behaviours to fit with societies version of self-care.
Individual Self-Care and the Health Care Industry
Studies show self-care frameworks that encompassed both the individual self-care activities and engagement with health care providers, highlighting that health care industry professionals play a role in individuals self-care. For some people however, suggestions or directions from health care professionals or organisations that are incongruent with what the individual finds helpful or values can undermine physical or mental health. It is important to acknowledge that self-care differs between individuals, health care professionals, businesses, and organisations and when self-care calls for engagement with health care providers, a collaborative approach is necessary.
List of Self-Care Activities
As self-care can be implemented as a routine or in response to an occurrence it’s also important to highlight that self-care practice can differ from day to day, month to month. What works in one situation or on one day, may not be helpful for another situation. This is where checking in with yourself (see our social media for our monthly check in’s) and developing a self-care toolkit can help. Below is a big list, in no particular order, of both temporary and enduring self-care practices. These activities can be implemented as stand alone or in combination with each other.
- Choosing nourishing foods
- Positive and realistic self-talk
- Bubble baths
- Attending religious services
- Saying No to things that cause unnecessary stress
- Saying Yes to things that get you out of your comfort zone and excites you
- Gratitude reflection
- Coffee date with friends
- Acts of kindness
- Sleep hygiene
- Making your bed each morning
- Weights training
- Spending time in nature
- Deep breathing
- Watching a movie
- Enjoy a hot cocoa
- Set and maintain boundaries
- Educating self about your health condition
- Declutter your desk or Tupperware cupboard
- Puzzles and games
- Unfollow people on social media that have a negative effect on your wellbeing
- Learn cognitive strategies for dealing with negative self-talk
- Meal prep
- Bush walking
- Developing a purpose for life
- Drink water
- Organise your handbag
- Advocating for your health needs
- Listen to music
- Financial budgeting
- Deconstruct social conditioning
- Read a book
- Seeking professional support
- Brush your teeth
- Learn your worth
- Pat a dog
- Detach from toxic people and environments
- Time management
- Trying something new
- Listen to a podcast
- Holding ice
- Getting a second opinion
- Up-cycling furniture
- Cardiovascular exercises
- Using the right skin care products
- Practice safe sex
- Letting go
- Cosy up by a fire
- Bask in the sunshine
- Stop work on time
- Hold yourself accountable
- Burn a candle
- Getting a manicure
- Sit in a sauna or steam room
- Play sudoku
Remember, this list isn’t exhaustive but implementing some of these strategies may support your self-care. It’s also important to remember that self-care isn’t a one size fits all strategy. It is best that self-care plans are tailored to your individual needs and what is currently going on in your life.