When I say “self-care” many people think of intricate activities that involve lots of money or a need to plan a memorable event. Most of you are already utilizing some form of self-care method on a day to day basis. However, the frequency tends to dwindle as stressors build.
When ask “How are your eating habits?” or “Do you make time for a meal?”, many of us look perplexed as to why eating is considered a self-care activity. In today’s age most of us are on-the-go, experiencing significantly busy schedules that are filled with commutes, family lives, and managing multiple jobs. It is no wonder that self-care dissipates as our metaphorical plate gets full.
Some of these self-care methods may include making time to promote healthy eating habits, such as scheduling time in your day to take a 15-minute snack break or going out to lunch with a friend. Through my experiences, I have discovered that many of us view taking time for ourselves as “being selfish.” It is believed that we should be spending our entire day being productive, doing work, or being there for others. However, how are we supposed to be our full selves if we don’t take time to care for ourselves? It is important to encourage ourselves to take time out of our day to incorporate smaller, but more meaningful activities. Taking 10 minutes to call a loved one or joining a free event/club, to meet new people, are perfect examples of self-care that also promotes self-growth.
Additionally, I encourage you to take time to learn about yourself and your needs. One of the ways you can do this is by invigorating your five senses (touch, smell, hearing, sight, taste). This will help you develop awareness into your likes and your dislikes. Keeping your 5 senses in mind, what activities can you engage in that will promote relaxation, self-love, and body awareness? These could involve embracing a loved one, baking a dessert or cooking a new recipe, listening to a musical artist, lighting candles, or watching a sunset. Embrace creativity in the development of these self-care activities. The more you engage in the development of these activities, the more likely you are to be invested in the process.
Maintaining socialization is an additional form of self-care, one of which is often underestimated. Utilizing social interaction can allow us to feel connected to those around us, promoting a sense of unity and strength. Right now, in the wake of COVID-19, socialization can be a difficult task to complete. As a society we have been highly encouraged to utilize “social distancing” methods to maintain safety. Social distancing does not necessarily mean removing socialization from your day-to-day life, but instead can be interpreted as physical distancing. We do not necessarily have to be face-to-face in modern society to feel connected to others.
Although it does not necessarily always have the same quality as we may be use to, we can adapt new methods of engagement to allow us the connection we crave. Use video conferencing platforms to engage your friends and family, such as Zoom or FaceTime. Some of these platforms can even include multiple individuals at a time, and allow for more natural conversation. I have even encountered those who have learned to play games with family and friends while using video conferencing interfaces, such as UNO. If you are unable to reach out using these platforms, regular phone calls may do the trick, especially reaching out to family members who may not have access or the capacity to engage in these mediums.
Overall, whether it is taking time out of your day to enjoy a meal, having a meaningful engagement with another person, or stimulating your senses, self-care can promote overall well-being and an appreciation of self. For some, the above-mentioned interventions may initially require some planning; self-care can be foreign and potentially stress evoking. However, the results are often worthwhile. As you learn the process of making time to care for yourself, the process of “scheduling” and learning your needs tends to become more organic.