The term “self-care” has become a trend in mainstream culture, causing hashtags on social media, the creation of subscription boxes, and posts from influencers and major companies on a daily basis. Though clay masks and bubble baths may come to mind when we think of this, the most important self-care practices require self-awareness and discipline to create long-lasting change in your life.
1. Monitoring Your Diet
Your diet consists of much more than what you eat. It is made up of anything that you consume daily. This includes online images, music, and even your inner dialogue. If you find yourself feeling tired, cranky, or just gross after eating, chances are your body is trying to tell you that this is something that may not be good for you. The same goes for how you feel after you watch certain television shows or after beating yourself up about a mistake you made at work. If you are consuming things that make you feel drained or unhappy, it may be time to cut back or stop doing those things altogether.
2. Saying No
Often we want to go above and beyond for the individuals that we care about, but overextending, whether it be financially, mentally, or emotionally, takes a toll on your mental health. Learning to say no and creating boundaries is one of the most powerful tools in a self-care journey. It is important to remember to take care of yourself first before others. As the saying goes, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.”
3. Using Your Time Wisely
Time is one of the most precious gifts on the planet, primarily because it’s one of the few things that you can never get back. Evaluate what you are spending your time on. Are you taking time to do things that you love or are you doing things just to appease friends/family/partners in your life? Are you taking time to rest or overworking yourself to no end? Find a balance in your life that allows for rest and love for both yourself and the people that you care about.
4. Listening To Yourself
Have you ever had a gut feeling about something and eventually found out that it was true? We are all born with intuition and it’s important to listen when you get a feeling that something is amiss in your life. Intuition is sometimes confused with fear. However, in most cases, there is one clear differentiator: fear is often anxious, while intuition is calm and direct. Tuning in to your intuition takes practice, but once you hone this skill, you will find it useful in every area of your life.
5. Being Kind
Unfortunately, we live in a society where a select few mean-spirited people live and thrive on the misfortune of others. What we sometimes don’t understand is that how people treat us is often a reflection of their own self-image. How we treat ourselves affects how we treat others and ultimately affects our overall perspective on the world. Take time to be more patient and speak kindly to yourself and others. Many people are fighting private battles that we know nothing about. A little kindness goes a long way.
Many of the most important acts of self-care are not singular tasks and require daily practice to make you a better person. Like any inner work, it can be challenging, but the results will ultimately lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.