Updated: Mar 15, 2020
by Kerry Smith, founder of GrannyOWL (Only Wholesome Living)
February is the month of love. We spend time thinking about how we can show someone how much we love them. We make great plans for Valentine’s Day. Or maybe we dream about someone doing things for us! How about doing something wonderful for the most important person in your life.
That’s right, you are the most important person in your life. Without you, there is no YOU! Why not take a little time to do something special for yourself. You may feel that with all the responsibilities to your job, your spouse, your children, you just don’t have time to do anything for yourself.
The truth is, if you take a little time for yourself, you will have more energy and reserves to tackle all the challenges in your life. You will have so much more to give. And that brings me to the topic of self-care. Just what is it anyway?
Jane Taylor of Habits for Well-being breaks self-care into 8 different levels...
1. Physical Self-Care
Taking care of yourself physically is the most basic level of self-care. That means getting enough sleep, movement, and healthy nutrition.
2. Psychological Self-Care
The level of psychological self-care is where you learn new things, practice mindfulness, and explore your creativity.
3. Emotional Self-Care
On the emotional level, you take steps to manage your stress while developing compassion for yourself and others.
4. Social Self-Care
Part of caring for yourself is maintaining social relationships, even if it’s just one or two really good friends – people that you can trust and confide in.
5. Financial Self-Care
You may not think of monitoring your spending as “self-care,” but taking care not to live outside your means is actually one of the best ways you can take care of yourself!
6. Spiritual Self-Care
Call it “spirituality,” call it “religion,” call it “faith.” Whatever you call it, this is the level where you connect with something greater than yourself.
7. Environmental Self-Care
Your immediate environment has a big impact on how you feel. When you practice environmental self-care, you rid your home and office of clutter, so it creates a feeling of peace.
8. Professional Self-Care
This is the level where you share your strengths and gifts with the world. It’s about living your purpose.
Just changing your mindset about some of the practical things you do daily is a form of self-care. Feeling a sense of accomplishment once you have completed necessary daily tasks rather than thinking about how you are just going to have to do it again tomorrow can really change your attitude.
I like to “reward” myself by doing something fun, or take a few minutes to meditate, take a walk, soak in a tub, or maybe sit down with a cup of tea and a good book once I have “checked off” my list of tasks. Find something that refreshes you and fills your soul with calm and peace.
If you are a list maker like me, put it on your list of to-do’s so it doesn’t get overlooked! But don’t put undue pressure on yourself to accomplish all of the tasks, either. Do what you can do, celebrate what you have done, and reward yourself!
Don’t feel like you have to do ALL of the above self-care suggestions at one time. Add them in as you can. Maybe pick one each week to work on. Need some ideas of how to implement them in your life? Here are 7 of my favorite ways, from this article by Psychology Today:
7 Tips for Self-Care
1. Get enough sleep. Sleep affects not just your physical body, but your emotional well-being too. Prioritize it.
2. Move. Same goes for exercise: its benefits go beyond the physical to helping reduce anxiety and boost mood.
3. Learn to say no. It’s okay not to take on more projects when you’re close to burnout. It takes practice, but you can learn to say no to others and yes to self-care.
4. Get outside. Nature heals -- get into it.
5. Spend some time organizing. A little less clutter goes a long way toward freeing up your mental space.
6. Schedule a date with yourself. If you wait until everyone else’s needs are met, you’ll never have time to meet your own. Schedule your self-care time, and be fierce about guarding it.
7. Eat right. Your food is your fuel, and may be the number one contributor to whether you age well or poorly.
As a nutritional consultant, I cannot stress that last one enough. What we put into our bodies has a direct effect on both our physical and our mental health. Eat a clean, mostly plant-based diet.
“The FOOD YOU EAT can either be the SAFEST and most POWERFUL form of MEDICINE or the SLOWEST form of POISON.” Anne Wigmore