What Is Self Care – How and Why You Deserve to be Happier

Self-care is one of those things most of us don’t do enough, considering our hectic lives and rushed world.  This is something we should be doing regularly, as this can help us find our balance and peace.

Self-care is the activities you do for your physical, mental, and spiritual health.  Benefits include prevention of disease, improved mental health, and many others.  This can include exercise, meditation, massage, mindfulness, activities that bring you peace.

Have you ever lost interest in work, hobbies, family, life-those things that used to bring you joy?  Are you ready to learn about self-care activities to help you rekindle your passion?

What Is Self Care?

Self-care is what we do in order to care for ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  These can be physical activities, meditative activities, creative activities, and basically those things that make us happy as well as bring us joy and peace.  We should be doing these things for ourselves at least once a week to take better care of ourselves.

Cup of tea with pot - What Is Self Care - Gone Minimal
Cup of tea with pot

Benefits of Self Care

Practicing self-care is essential for maintaining your overall well-being and quality of life. It is a personal journey that is different for everyone. It involves identifying your needs, boundaries, and what brings you happiness. Prioritizing self-care benefits your overall well-being and creates a solid foundation for a healthier and more balanced life. Whether it is physical or emotional, self-care provides us with so many benefits that may include:

  • Improved mental health
  • Better outlook on life
  • Improved physical appearance
  • Maintained interest in activities
  • Lifelong learning
  • Mental and spiritual peace

Examples of Self Care Activities

There are many options out there for self-care, too many to fit right here!  Activities you choose for your own self-care should be individualized and performed regularly to reap the most benefits.  There’s no limit to how many self-care activities you do, but find those you enjoy or think you’d enjoy and would be able to practice regularly:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Journaling
  • Spending time with family and/or pets
  • Painting
  • Spending time outside
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Practicing your hobbies
  • Visiting the barber/hairdresser
  • Get a massage
  • Get a facial
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Take a nap
Spa tub - What Is Self Care - Gone Minimal
Spa tub

Now you’ll notice that some of these activities require physical activity while others are more quiet.  The best self-care plan will include both physical and quiet activities to help you achieve balance.  And remember-there’s many more activities you can do for self-care!  Think about those things you enjoy doing, what you enjoy, and what you’re already doing-you may already be doing these for self-care.

Specific Types of Self Care

Next let’s take a look at some specific types or categories of self-care.  It’s important to address each of these (as applicable) to make sure you cover all of your bases and again-find balance and peace.

Mental Self Care

Mental self-care are those things we do to center ourselves, calm ourselves, find our focus and relax.  This type of self-care can prevent depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental disturbances.  Identifying and accepting your own emotions and reactions, getting enough sleep, sharing feelings with others, and even meditation are activities that contribute to mental health.  Practices like journaling, meditation, keeping a diary, and talk therapy are some examples of what we can do for mental self-care.

Journaling - What Is Self Care - Gone Minimal

Self Care for Students

Self-care for students can be tough when you’re balancing attending classes, working part or full time, balancing family needs, and getting homework and studying completed.  Because there’s so much to do it’s important to first of all make a schedule. Set aside time for study, sleep, family time, and all of those things that matter to you-especially sleep! 

Also make sure to communicate your needs and your availability to others so there is an understanding of what you can and cannot do.  Self-care contributes to better learning and better grades!

Self Care for Parents

Self-care for parents is especially tough because not only are we caring for children, a home, possibly pets, working, and helping with schoolwork-but we’re setting an example for our children as well!  It’s extremely difficult to care for others when you’re not caring for yourself.  So take a little time each day, at the same time if possible, and spend some time doing self-care.  You’ll find this helps you better balance your responsibilities while possibly even becoming a better emotional support for others like your partner and children.

Self Care at Work

Self-care at work can be challenging because we want to advance our careers, have good working relationships with our supervisors and coworkers, but also keep a healthy balance between work and life.  This type of self-care includes taking breaks, taking that paid lunch, using that vacation time we earn, and saying “no” to those things that just won’t help our careers or our mental health.  When we utilize self-care at work we prevent burnout, stress, and wanting to leave our jobs.  Take those vacation days, you earned them!

Vacation - What Is Self Care - Gone Minimal

Why Self Care Is Important

We’ve touched on this a bit with each category addressed above, but if you’re still wondering why self-care is important-let’s expand on it a bit more. 

  • Find balance.  When we take the time to identify our feelings, talk to others about it, de-stress and utilize boundaries, we will have a better balance of all the aspects of our lives (work, school, parenting, etc.).
  • Prevent mental illness.  Once we find balance, we are better able to handle the stresses that come our way.  This over time will prevent depression, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses that are influenced by environmental factors.
  • Love ourselves.  Self-care can contribute to improved sleep habits, more restful sleep, healthier hair, better skin appearance, improved digestion, and even improved self-esteem.

Developing a Self Care Plan

So now that we’ve discussed why self-care is so important, the next step is to develop a plan.  Humans are much better at sticking to things when we have a plan than when we “wing it”, so let’s take a look:

  • Set realistic goals.  Decide how much time you can spend each day meditating or doing some type of mindfulness activity.
  • Schedule this time at regular intervals, whether it’s weekly or daily to get started.
  • Replace routine activities that bring stress with those that don’t.  For example-instead of turning on the morning news, take your dog for a walk.
  • Replace wasteful phone activities with something more productive.  For example-instead of playing solitaire, play with your children.
  • Tweak your morning routine. Drink your coffee outside rather than in front of the television.
  • Skip checking your email and read your favorite book.
  • At bedtime plug your phone in the office or kitchen instead of at your bedside.
Drinking coffee in a hammock - What Is Self Care - Gone Minimal
Drinking coffee in a hammock

The most important thing to keep in mind is to create a plan that fits your schedule and that you can stick to.  Start by incorporating just one of the above activities daily, then add one each week or each day.  Do what self-care you can-it will still benefit you!

How to Practice Self Care

You’ve created a plan, so now if you’re asking-how to practice self-care?  Get started!  Make sure you’ve created a plan that is reasonable and you can stick to.  It helps to pick activities that you enjoy or help you relax, but sometimes it’s good to try something new. 

Talk to your family members and friends about the self-care activities they do.  What do they enjoy?  What have they tried that they liked (or didn’t like)?  Try these things (usually more than once to get the hang of it) and make the decision to continue or try something else.  As long as you’re doing something, you’re helping yourself.  And that’s wonderful!

This video shares 25 simple self-care ideas you can start practicing today.

Ways Real People Prefer To Practice Self-care

I asked some family and friends what 3 ways they would prefer most to practice self care. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll:

Self-care PracticeTally of Family/Friends
Walk outside4
Bubble bath5
Watch a movie2
Get my hair and nails done3

Other Resources:

Our day-to-day lives are so hectic with everything we have to fit into each day, so self-care is a necessity.  If we take the time to exercise, meditate, and even do something to pamper ourselves it’s a good emotional break and can restore our mental and emotional well-being.  Whether you do it once a week or every day, find activities that you enjoy, help your stress levels, and bring you peace.  Don’t just do it for you-do it for your family and friends too.  And remember- “example isn’t the main thing influencing others, it’s the only thing” (Albert Schweitzer)!

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