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Self-care: What it is and Why is it Important?

by Lou-Ann Jordan Feb 3, 2020

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 “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” These poetic, but more importantly, wise words are the utterances of Oscar Wilde. 

In our busy lives, we make an effort to demonstrate our affection for our spouses, partners, children, siblings and friends.  We understand the importance of displaying our care to our loved ones, and yet we often neglect to show ourselves that same care and affection.

We demonstrate our neglect as we rush about missing meals or overeating.  We many also neglect to exercise or take a moment to sit and enjoy a period of rest.  We deprive ourselves of some much need self-care.

What is self-care?

Self-care is an all-compassing term.  It’s not merely a one-time splurge on that expensive dress you’ve been eyeing or attending game night with the boys—though both of those actions may bring about peace of mind for some.

According to Psych Central author and licensed counselling psychologist, Raphailia Michael, it’s deliberately engaging in activities that take care of your mental, emotional and physical health.  When there is synchronisation among these aspects of our health, we, generally, experience less anxiety and are in a better mood.

Why is self-care important?

A general misconception of self-care is that it is selfish or causes people to be too self-focused.  However, this is far from the truth.  Often in our care for our loved ones, we pour a lot into them with little thought to our state of mind or physical wellbeing.

Self-care involves examining yourself to see how and where you are depleted, be it mentally, physically or emotionally, and then doing something that would refuel and energise you.  In this way, you are then better able to care for those you love.

What are some ways you can show yourself some love?

First, understand that self-care is personal so it will materialise differently for each individual.  However, there are activities that can work for all of us.

Here are 10 self-care tips to getting you started on that life-long romance:

– Maintain a healthy and nutritious diet.

– Exercise regularly.

– Make it a habit of getting a proper night’s rest. Eight hours is recommended for adults.

– Have regular check-ups and screenings done by your doctor.

– Add to your daily schedule an activity that you find pleasurable.

– When at work, take a moment or two and step away from projects. Change your environment; clear your head.

– Look for opportunities to feel gratitude and record them.

– Spend quality time with your loved ones.

– Schedule alone time.  Get away from everyone, find a quiet spot and exhale.

– Occasionally treat yourself to something you like.

Woman rests in the gym next to a pair of dumbells.

Practising self-care is essential for our wellbeing, especially if we are to foster and maintain healthy, caring relationships.

Think of it as making a personal deposit—and we must see the importance of making these deposits periodically so that our ‘accounts’ are not in deficit when we attempt to make withdrawals. 

Sources: Psych Central and Psychology Today