This post is the first installment of our blog series on self-care for beginners. The series is designed to answer your initial questions, give you tips on how to get started and show you how you can learn to live with a self-caring approach. Find the second part here and the final part here. BONUS: A method suitable for coaches and therapists.
Self-care means deliberately taking care of your physical and mental health. It includes a variety of daily activities that maintain and develop short-term and long-term mental well-being. However, this is more than just an activity. It is about focusing the mind towards a self-caring approach to life through self-knowledge, self-regulation and introspection. The first step is to identify one’s own needs and how these needs can be properly met. Self-care activities done regularly bring rest and relaxation. They positively affect our self-confidence as well as support healthy relationships. To summarise, it is about self-love.
Go beyond pampering yourself
Activities, where we pamper ourselves, are often referred to as self-care. Indulging in a delicious slice of chocolate cake or taking a long soak in a bubble bath is undoubtedly pleasant. These activities can reduce stress and promote relaxation. However, real self-care covers all other areas of our lives and goes beyond taking care of our bodies. Taking care of yourself may not always be easy and may require a lot of effort. It means confronting unpleasant realities and making difficult decisions, such as cutting yourself off from toxic people or facing unproductive behavioural patterns. Of course, self-care can include time for yourself and pleasant activities that bring you joy, re-energize you and renew your enthusiasm for life.
It’s about finding balance
In finding and maintaining balance, it is essential to provide care for yourself in various aspects of life. You need to pay equal attention to the needs of your body, your emotions, your spirit, your relationships and your work. Balancing these dimensions of your life means cultivating healthy relationships, acknowledging one’s emotional and spiritual needs, and managing and reducing stress. To be able to do this, you first have to determine what kinds of activities you need to do daily or your maintenance self-care. And you also have to know the strategies you can apply when dealing with extremely challenging events or crises in life, in other words, your emergency self-care.
Self-care questions with ‘Me Time’
Self-care is for everyone. Each person is unique and has their own needs and demands. Therefore, it is up to everyone to figure out what this means to them. The metaFox deep questions “Me Time” card deck is a self-care kit designed to facilitate this process with open questions. Questions from the categories “Your life experience” and “Your inner world” help to uncover potential for more self-love in your inner and outer life. The third category “Engaging & action” projects this knowledge into life, so you can act upon it and enhance your overall well-being and happiness.
Butler, L. D., & McClain-Meeder, K. (2015). Self-Care Starter Kit. Located at http://www.socialwork.buffalo.edu/students/self-care/index.asp