Self-care has taken off in the wellness community with articles, bloggers, and even influencers asserting the myriad of benefits that come from simply slowing down and taking time to connect with oneself.
But what does self-care actually mean? When I talk about the importance of self-care with my clients, I often find it difficult to describe what exactly self-care means. Isn’t it self-explanatory? If you were to look at the definition of self-care, it essentially boils down to making a conscious effort to take care of your basic needs.
What I have found, however, is that self-care means something different for every person. For example, think about a Mom with three young children. Self-care for her might simply mean taking a shower every night and fueling her body with nutritious foods that give her energy. For a 20-something work-a-holic, self-care might mean taking a quick 10-minute break during the day to de-stress.
Point being, what your bestie swears cured her anxiety, might not be helpful for you. Establishing a self-care routine and finding what works for you will take time and practice. Here are some ideas to begin integrating self-care into your life:
- Take a long, warm shower before bed.
- If you are feeling adventurous, try incorporating essential oil or a scented body-wash into your routine. Focus on finding a scent that you find soothing and relaxing. Lavender, rose, jasmine, and chamomile can be especially calming.
- Light a candle when you get home from work.
- Mindfully take a few minutes to take some deep breaths (Check out our therapist Amy Brightman's blog post on how deep, calming breaths can be used to reduce stress and anxiety).
- Sneak out on your lunch break and go for a short (or even long) walk.
- Maybe venture down a new block and see if you can notice something you’ve never seen. The city is full of wonderful surprises.
- Get a monthly (or even weekly) massage.
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Write down three things that you are grateful for every night before going to bed. This can range from your parents being in good health or being thankful for your favorite barista.