Self-care simply refers to all those activities and habits that we include in our routine to dedicate ourselves to taking care of ourselves, or improving our health. It includes all those decisions and actions about self-care that a person performs to achieve a better quality of life.
As it is understood today, self-care is the set of actions that a person performs to intentionally improve their health. This includes both physical and psychological needs or the physical aspect, always from the perspective of having a positive personal development.
Self - care requires that we assume responsibility in the care of our health, both mental, and spiritual, with results of our actions, to have increased quality of life and thus obtain well-being in all areas that make us up as people.
Therefore, self-care activities are primarily directed at taking action on oneself to strengthen the mental, emotional, and physical health.
Characteristics of self-care
• It is a constant habit and a lifestyle.
• It is a personal action in protection of health.
• You can develop it in steps. It allows you to carry out an activity every day, in such a way that it does not become heavy to start taking care of yourself.
• It is variable, as you can do a different activity every day. One day you can take time to reflect and another day you can exercise.
• It is different for each person. For some taking care of themselves can be walking, while others like to sleep or read.
Importance of self-care
It minimizes infections, equip you and protects your psychological and physical health. When you prioritize your work, home or interpersonal goals for too long, leaving aside your personal well-being, your body begins to warn you that you are overloading yourself. It does so through somatization, that is, symptoms of physical discomfort that are common in people with stress, such as:
• Headaches, back pain, or muscle pain.
• Nausea, diarrhea, gas.
• Tingling, muscle spasms, weakness.
• Palpitations, feeling of suffocation.
At high level of stress, these signs appear and are precursors that warns you that you are subjecting yourself to sustained stress for too long.
This picture can worsen and debut in the future in specific disorders, such as the well-known burnout or professional burnout syndrome, or in anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, or affective disorders such as depression.
There are personality factors that can predispose you to suffer from these disorders, and one of them is a high level of self-demand: that is, you demand too much of yourself. This high level of demand can lead you to get involved in a multitude of demanding activities, which involve physical and mental effort, and which in the long term, if you do not have adequate self-care habits, can affect your health in the long run.
Improving the quality of your life through self-care
1. Physical appearance: Physical self -care seeks bodily well-being. For that, you must perform a physical activity that allows you to release stress, generate serotonin and release the tensions of the routine. Some activities you can do are:
• Cook a healthy meal.
• Go to sleep earlier than usual.
• Do yoga.
• Learn a new sport, walk or run with your pet.
2. Emotional aspect: To have good emotional health, you must not reject feelings, you must accept them and continue your life. You cannot establish which emotions are good or bad, the important thing is how you react to them. Feelings of sadness or anger can provoke rejection; however, the healthiest thing is to feel and accept them. Some ideas you can put into practice are:
• Be honest about your feelings.
• Reflect on the things that do not work.
• Seek professional help.
• Accept feelings rather than judging people.
• Try telling your feelings to that person who always gets it.
• Meditate, laugh or cry whenever you want.
• Express your feelings through dance, painting, music or writing.
3. Mental aspect: This aspect basically includes exercising your mind through activities that stimulate creativity and critical thinking. These activities include:
• Reading a good book.
• Solve a crossword or puzzle.
• Write, draw or play a musical instrument.
• Make crafts, fabrics, sewing or a cooking course.
• Listen to an educational podcast
Benefits of self-care
1. You become more productive: When you focus on improving your health, you can get things done more effectively and efficiently. You begin to take the necessary time to do the activities that you consider most important and to discard those that are not productive; you can better visualize your goals and focus on everything you need to achieve them.
2. You know yourself better: Self-care leads you to evaluate the things you really like and need. Doing what you are passionate about, what inspires you, is something that helps you feel good about yourself and carry out each activity with enthusiasm.
3. Your personal care is a priority: Once you make self-care a priority, everything becomes easier. You've figured out how to organize your activities and time to meet your most basic demands.
4. You can give more to others: If you take good care of yourself, you have enough resources to help others. You can't help another who can't take care of his own health. 5. Improve your self-esteem: By dedicating yourself to improving your health and meeting your needs, you feed your mind with a positive message. That makes you feel important and satisfied with yourself and what you represent to others.
5. Improve your self-esteem: By dedicating yourself to improving your health and meeting your needs, you feed your mind with a positive message. That makes you feel important and satisfied with yourself and what you represent to others.
Some basic good habits to have good self-care
There are some habits that are basic to have good self-care, and prevent you from excess stress:
• Adequate time management: Knowing how to prioritize, dedicate yourself to what is important and avoid distraction by the urgencies, etc. This is an essential skill so you don't end up suffering from stress overload.
• Analyze your objectives: Once a week, take a few minutes to review what you've accomplished and whether it's in accordance with what you want to do or how you want your future to be. You'll be shocked at how many activities you perform out of obligation or inertia that don't contribute to your happiness.
• Establish a schedule: Remember that self-care activities aren't optional, and they shouldn't be treated as such. They must, like diets, be included into your daily routine. Self-care is a crucial component of your emotional diet. Schedule your activities and give them due respect by delegating or putting off other chores.
• Watch your critical thoughts: One of the most recurrent barriers to postponing self-care activities is that of automatic negative thoughts, that is, thoughts that sneak into your head and make you feel bad: normally, guilt It's normal to hear that taking time for oneself is selfish and that you're neglecting other's obligations.
• Be assertive: Doing so is essential to set aside other unproductive commitments that take up your time, and that have nothing to do with your personal goals.
• Be constant: It is common to adhere to self-care habits when you feel bad, since that is when you see meaning in them. Maintain this habit long-term, not when you need it, but constantly, so that you don't have to need it in the future.
Finally, keep in mind that you are responsible for all aspects of your life (job, family, friends, sports, etc.). Everything else relies on your health to function properly. So don't assume that spending time is selfish or that it means you're neglecting other aspects of your life. In reality, you're helping to ensure their long term viability and investing in a healthier, happier life. Now that you know about self care, you just need to make it part of your life. Start with small actions and you can enjoy its benefits in the long term. You can check out some tools for effective practices at Pink Is In.