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What is self-care? People are like plants, with very specific needs. In order to thrive, it’s important to learn what grows yours.
This is discovered over time and through exploration. People have, for the most part, the same basic physical care needs, but beyond that, there are intellectual, emotional, spiritual, environmental, home, and financial care needs which will be unique to every individual.
Discovering your care needs takes patience with yourself and boundaries with your loved ones.
What is the Self-Care/Self-Worth Cycle?
The patience you have to learn and address your needs will be based on how you value your needs and priorities. Self-care takes the same attention as a child. Your needs will either be addressed or neglected. Operating in people-pleasing mode, putting others before yourself, or consistently putting your needs on the backburner impacts your self-worth.
The message being sent to your subconscious is that you’re not important enough to prioritize yet.
Neglecting self-care, or only doing the minimum for yourself, so you can be more available to others creates resentment both toward yourself and those you’re caring for instead.
Taking care of yourself is an act of love to both you and your loved ones.
Self-Care Supports Happiness
Happiness is achieved through met needs. Getting your needs met depends greatly on being able to identify and communicate them.
Avoiding feelings and needs:
- Guilt or shame
- Lack of vulnerability
- Low emotional vocabulary
- Lack of trust
- Emotional immaturity
- Unskilled in processing difficult emotions
All of these issues can be managed through skill-building exercises. Self-care includes taking time to evaluate where skill-building will contribute to your health and well-being. Happiness isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it state of being.
What is self-care skill-building?
- Practicing self-reflection
- Seeking out emotional support through friends or counselors
- Intentionally practicing trust and confidence-building relationships
- Seeking out life skills
- Setting goals and reaching them
Observe Your Habits and Patterns
Much like the self-care/self-worth cycle, your self-care routine gives you an overall perspective of your personal habits and patterns. Understanding where your strengths and weaknesses are in regard to the ebbs and flows of life allows you to plan an individualized response.
Disruptions happen in life, sometimes due to unfortunate circumstances and sometimes due to exciting circumstances. So many things can throw you off your self-care routine. Knowing what triggers or distracts you and having a plan to respond helps you work with your life patterns.
How to Observe Your Self-Care Patterns:
- Journal about the PIES areas: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual
- Identify your needs in each area
- Set a routine or checklist to follow weekly or monthly
- Schedule reflection time to evaluate how your routine fit into your life
What is physical self-care?
- Preventative medical treatment
- Physical health monitoring
- Hair, skin, teeth, nails
What is emotional self-care?
- Opening to your feelings
- Asking for support
- Speaking your truth
What is intellectual self-care?
- Setting and reaching goals
- Seeking a new skill set
- Having fulfilling conversations
What is spiritual self-care?
- Contending with your feelings about your mortality
- Contemplating life and purpose
- Seeking guidance and alternative perspectives
Why is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is what supports your being. When you neglect your needs, your being is unsupported. Unsupported beings lose trust, motivation, confidence, and the desire to continue caring for themselves.
Mood changes can affect your self-care routine, this is to be expected. You’re a whole human and deserve acceptance for your whole human experience. Acceptance starts with yourself.
Self-care is the process of building a relationship with yourself. You’re giving your valuable time to your own self to learn and grow in a healthy way.
How to Start a Self-Care Routine
Start a self-care routine by bringing awareness to the first four basic areas of self-care; PIES.
- Check-in with yourself on strengths and where things are going well for you or staying off the radar.
- Check-in with yourself on weaknesses and the areas that are negatively impacting your health.
- Triage the care you need. Oftentimes, starting a self-care routine is overwhelming because there are so many areas of the human experience that require attention.
- Take it easy. Give yourself space and grace. Learning what you need takes time.
- Prioritize the most impactful areas and create a schedule to address them. Use your calendar or to-do list on your phone to schedule reminders.
Be forgiving. You’re not a robot and taking care of yourself will change as you grow. Be open to learning about yourself. Be open to seeing your unique life experiences that tailor your needs to you.
What is self-care? Getting to know yourself better so you can support yourself right.