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Self-Care is Mandatory

Most of us suck at taking care of ourselves like we should. We're busy taking care of everyone else and managing our busy lives. Work eats up our time. Kids are all encompassing. Our spouses want all of our attention. Even our fur-kids need us. Aging parents are a major concern. The bills are piling up. The car is on the fritz, etc. etc. etc.

Stop the madness! The truth of the matter is, if we aren't taking care of ourselves, we aren't going to be any good for anyone else and our physical, mental and spiritual selves are going to deteriorate.

"When we take good care of ourselves, we fill ourselves up, which in turn energizes us so that we can give to others." ~ Dr. Julie Gottman

What exactly is self-care? Self-care in essence is the mindful taking of time to take care of you, in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.

So what can you do? Let's break it down into five areas to consider: physical, mental, spiritual, social and emotional.

Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care includes: how you're fueling your body—junk in, junk out; how much sleep you're getting; how much physical activity you are doing; and how well you're caring for your physical needs.

Attending doctor's appointments, taking medication as prescribed, and managing your health are all part of good physical self-care.

Ask yourself these questions to check-in with yourself:

  • Are you getting adequate sleep?

  • Is your diet fueling your body well?

  • Are you taking charge of your health?

  • Are you getting enough exercise?

How are you doing? I'm failing on the physical activity spectrum. Work must be done in this area!

Mental self-care

The way you think and the things that you're filling your mind with greatly influence your psychological well-being. If you stay in a negative space, negative results will follow you. If you stay stressed out, your mind and body will be affected.

Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind sharp and at peace. You might do puzzles, learn about a subject that fascinates you or try out a new craft or hobby. You might find reading motivational books or watching movies that inspire you fuel your mind. You might take a hot bath lit by candle light with a glass of wine to relax your mind and destress. Getting a massage or having a spa day can also help you relax.

Mental self-care also involves doing things that help you stay mentally healthy. Practicing self-compassion, acceptance, and gratitude, helps you maintain a healthier inner dialogue. Consider adding daily affirmations to your schedule and starting your day by setting intentions.

Ask yourself these questions to check-in with yourself:

  • Are you making enough time for activities that mentally stimulate you?

  • Are you doing proactive things to help you stay mentally healthy?

spiritual self-care

Research shows that a lifestyle including spirituality or religion leads to better overall health.

Nurturing your spirit, however, doesn't have to involve religion. It can involve anything that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, or connection with nature and the Universe.

Whether you enjoy grounding, meditation, attending a religious service, or praying, spiritual self-care is an important element of taking caring for yourself.

Ask yourself these questions to check-in with yourself:

  • What questions do you ask yourself about your life and experience?

  • Are you engaging in spiritual practices that you find fulfilling?

social Self-care

Socialization is key to self-care. But, often, it's hard to make time for friends and it's easy to neglect your relationships when life gets busy.

Our relationships are outlets for letting go and coping with our daily struggles. They allow us the opportunity to connect with people outside of ourselves. They bring us joy, provide us opportunities to play and a shoulder to cry on when necessary.

The pandemic showed us just how important this aspect of self-care is. I know my girlfriends have saved my sanity many times!

The secret to having time? Assigning its value in your life, and making room.

Social self-care can be just as important as any other type of self-care. Never underestimate the power of a stable relationship and your ability to maintain one. Make sure to give others what you give to yourself, but keep in mind, as the renowned poet Rumi says: “Never give from the depths of your well, but your overflow. “ The key is finding balance in the give and take.

Ask yourself these questions to check-in with yourself:

  • Are you getting enough face-to-face time with your friends?

  • What are you doing to nurture your relationships with friends and family?

emotional self-care

It's important to have healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like anger, anxiety, and sadness. Emotional self-care may include activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings on a regular basis.

You may talk to a partner, or close friend about how you feel, or seek out a therapist or coach to help you process. Set aside time for leisure activities that help you process your emotions. Many do that through walking, running, riding a bike or taking motorcycle ride. Maybe your jam is sitting by the ocean watching the waves come in, or watching a fire crackle. I think I have done all of these things except running, because that's not happening unless I'm being chased, though I know many people that find that experience amazing.

It's important to incorporate emotional self-care into your daily life.

Ask yourself these questions to check-in with yourself:

  • Do you have healthy ways to process your emotions?

  • Do you incorporate activities into your life that help you feel recharged?

Develop your self-care plan

Self-care isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy. Your self-care plan will need to be customized to your needs. Assess which areas of your life need some more attention and self-care. Reassess your life often. As your situation changes, your self-care needs are likely to shift too.

When you discover that you're neglecting a certain aspect of your life, create a plan for change. You don't have to tackle everything all at once. Identify one small step you can take to begin caring for yourself better. Then, schedule time to focus on your needs. Even when you feel like you don't have time to squeeze in one more thing, make self-care a priority. When you're caring for all aspects of yourself, you'll find that you are able to operate more effectively and efficiently.

For more guidance on setting a self-care plan for yourself, reach out to Coach Remi Gibbs with Renovated Realities, Drop us a line on our Facebook or Instagram page and let us know how your self-care is going.

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