Self-Care is the buzz word of the new millennium! Everyone is talking about the importance of taking the time to prioritize yourself and your needs. And, as we all know, self-care isn’t selfish. It’s essential to a full and happy life. Not just for you but for everyone in your life! Because, as we all know you can’t pour from an empty vessel! So often we neglect self-care but not just because we don’t have time (or make time for it). The truth is, even when we do, we’re too exhausted to figure out what to do. And if that isn’t the case, we find ourselves in a self-care rut. Doing the same thing every time but never really feeling the full benefits. So, to make everything easier I thought I’d come up with a simple and complete self-care system!
The Most Thorough Self-Care System
For the longest time every time I got a chance for self-care, I just went to take a bath. Do you know what happened? I got tired of baths! Even though I was lucky if I got one in every couple of months, I found that it really wasn’t doing anything for me. So, I wasn’t very motivated to practice self-care.
But, knowing how important it is I decided to start being more intentional about my self-care time (and my time in general). And I discovered something pretty cool! I found that there are 7 major areas of a complete self-care system (one for each day of the week) and one category that should be practiced every single day!
Truth is, if you utilize this plan, you’ll reap incredible rewards and you’ll be able to work up to getting 2 components of the self-care system into your life daily. You’ll be happier and healthier and so much more productive you’ll actually have MORE time to get other tasks accomplished!
It is necessary to practice practical self-care every day! In the long run it saves you tons of time and big bucks! There is nothing like proactively caring for you health to prevent disease and injury later in life. So, whatever you do, work the 3 pillars of practical self-care into each day.
Then to round out your self-care system choose one additional area of self-care to incorporate into your daily routine. You may find that some activities overlap more than one category. Some might even count as practical self-care as well. That’s awesome! Just try to incorporate something from each category into your week. That way you’ll be filling every area of your life with self-care.
If you struggle at first to practice daily care, that’s ok. Set a goal for a few times a week and build up from there! The important thing is that you’re getting regular care and working up to a daily practice.
Practical self-care should be done EVERY day! That’s right… every single day! It’s vitally important for your health and overall well-being. The 3 pillars of practical self-care are, exercise (move your body), eat healthy and get plenty of rest. These are things you should be doing every day!
In addition to daily practical self-care there are numerous scheduled activities that need to be set up throughout the year. Things like dentist appointments and routine medical appointments and screenings.
This might all sound simple and you may even be wondering why this is on a self-care list at all, but the truth is many, MANY people are so busy taking care of everyone else that they skip potentially life saving appointments and medical care. And, whether you enjoy it or not, eating healthy, getting proper rest and moving your body are important facets of self-care. They prolong not only your life but also your health and enable you to enjoy it to the fullest!
Practical self-care is non-negotiable! It should be scheduled into your planner in permanent marker. No matter what else is going on make sure you get your practical self-care done!
Other Categories of Self-Care (Pick 1 per Day)
Physical self-care is the type most people think about. It involves pampering yourself physically. Things like baths, massages, and pedicures fall into this category. But there are other amazing types of physical self-care like going for a walk or swinging on a swing set. Of course, some of these activities count as practical as well and some may also count in other categories. If that’s the case, you can count it as either!
At least one day a week do something kind for your body! It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and it shouldn’t be detrimental to your health! For example, eating cookies isn’t self-care. If you want a cookie here or there, by all means, have it but don’t count it as your self-care for the day.
Self-care should never hurt you! It has NO negative consequences or effects! So, be mindful of your budget and your health when practicing physical self-care (or any other kind).
It’s easy to confuse mental self-care with intellectual or emotional but let me clarify that they aren’t the same. Mental self-care relates to managing your thoughts. There are many things you can do to practice self-care related to your thoughts. Simply taking the time to observe and assess or change your thoughts is a form of self-care. So is journaling and mindfulness. But in my opinion the best form of mental self-care is affirmations! Writing and reciting affirmations every day will keep your thoughts positive and your goals lofty! Mental self-care is related to your mind.
Intellectual self-care is what you do for your brain. It promotes brain health and helps to stave off diseases like dementia. Intellectual self-care involves puzzles, games and learning. This doesn’t have to be learning in the traditional sense. It could be documenting your family history, reading a self-improvement or other non-fiction books, learning a new language or simply traveling to a new place. Anything that causes you to expand your thinking or challenge your intellect fits in this category.
So… emotional self-care might be the most or least enjoyable. Part of practicing emotional self-care is allowing yourself to experience uncomfortable emotions. It also includes creating new feelings by changing your thoughts, reactions and environment. What feelings do you prefer to experience and how can you create them more often? That’s probably the biggest component of emotional self-care! One of my favorite ways to practice emotional self-care is dancing. There is nothing that improves my mood more than an impromptu dance session to amazing, uplifting music. But if you need to cry it out the best emotional self-care might be watching a tearjerker. And of course, journaling or writing poetry can be a very effective form of emotional self-care!
This oft overlooked self-care is so important there’s a series of books devoted to it! You know… Chicken Soup for the Soul! Sometimes just reading heartwarming stories is enough to do the trick. But, in my opinion, the best way to practice soulful self-care is to do something kind for someone else. There are few things that will make you feel better after a particularly stressful or busy day than doing something for someone else. So, I encourage you to put together a care package, write to a member of the military, do someone else’s chore around the house or simply pay for the coffee of the person behind you. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming it just has to come from the heart! Not only will you help someone else and spread a little happiness around, you’ll feel amazing!
You don’t have to be religious to practice spiritual self-care. It’s about connecting to what you believe in. We all have a place inside us that is deeply spiritual and connected to something bigger than us. It does you no good to deny it, it will still be there. So, spend a little time deepening your spiritual practice every week. Whether that time be spent in prayer or meditation or even in yoga or gardening. This is all about acknowledging that you are a part of something bigger than you. And not only that but you matter! Your connection matters!
Set Your Self-Care Intentions & Start Today!
So often people think of a self-care system as this very complicated and illusive ritual. But the truth is you probably do many of the things above daily already! You may have figured out that it isn’t really about the actual activity. It’s more about your intention! When you journal, is it your intention to nurture yourself, or are you just going through the motions? When you pray or meditate do you bring your awareness to the connections you’re making? Do you enjoy the warmth you experience when you do something kind for someone else? Or allow yourself to bask in the kindness of your own positive affirmations?
You don’t need more time to practice self-care. You simply need more intention. Approach self-care with purpose. Strive to get all your practical self-care done every day and then add at least one additional component of self-care to your day. Before you know it, you’ll be practicing self-care in multiple ways every day. You’ll reap amazing benefits from your practice and so will everyone else in your life. You’ll be overflowing with health, happiness and inspiration!
Practice some soulful self-care right now and pass this along to other’s who would benefit from it! Who can’t use a little self-care? What’s your favorite self-care activity?
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