Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
– Audre Lorde
What is selfcare?
Selfcare refers to the actions individuals take in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their own health and wellbeing. It involves a personal investment in maintaining physical, psychological and spiritual health, and pursuing a fulfilling, well-rounded life.
We are indoctrinated to always put ourselves last but this is not healthy and may adversely affect our health. Waiting till you get sick or waiting till you’re near a breakdown is no way to take care of yourself. It is important to prioritize making time for yourself amidst your busy lives and responsibilities. This way, you will be happier, more stable and more capable of handling your responsibilities.
There are several ways to take care of yourself and whatever approach you choose will require you to look at multiple areas of your life and evaluate carefully. You don’t want to care of one part of your being at the detriment of the other. In fact, that’s impossible. You exist as a whole being and you must care for the whole of your body and look after all ramifications of your life. Anything less will have unpleasant consequences.
To care for yourself, do the following:
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is a very important part of selfcare.
- Eat right. Normalise eating a balanc3d diet. Eating the right food can improve your mood and overall health and better equip your body to function.
- Drink enough water.
- Learn to say no to others. It’s okay if you don’t want or aren’t able to so something at the moment you’re asked. Learn to say “no”, “later”, “perhaps some other time”. Having too many commitments can put extra pressure on yourself and cause you stress.
- Exercise and engage in sports. Physical activity is a good way to de-stress, let out pressure and keep your body healthy. Also, embrace physical activity like dance and walking.
- Get organized. Use a planner, calendar, to-do list.
- Take breaks from computers, phone or social media. The internet is full of noise and too much screen time is not heathy for anyone. It is best to shut it out every now and then.
- Spend time outdoors.
- Practice mindfulness. Be in the moment. Pour yourself into each and every task.
- Practice good hygiene.
- Pamper yourself often. This can involve the use of scented candles or diffused essential oils to relax; getting a massage, a manicure or pedicure, taking yourself out, buying yourself gifts, spending time with friends and people you love.
- Make a practice of meditation. This can help you declutter, gain clarity, recalibrate and maintain your peace.
- Have creative outlets. You can draw, write, color, paint, DIY, cooking, baking, work on anything that inspires you
- Do something you love every day.
- Avoid triggers. If something upsets you, changes your mood from good to bad, makes you irritable, makes you question your worth, avoid it.
- Check in with yourself periodically. You don’t want to wait till things get out of control or till you are assaulted with a myriad of changes. Periodically checking in with yourself enables you evaluate where you are at each point in time. You may find out you need to adjust or incorporate new habits into your lifestyle.
- Start journaling. Aside journaling being documentarian, journaling is a great way to learn about yourself and vent in a way that doesn’t harm you or others.