Ask someone what self care consists of and you may hear treating themselves to a new outfit, lipstick or an entire shopping spree. Then you could ask another and the answer could be something as simple as stealing away to the bathroom with a glass of wine with fragrant bath oils for a long bubble bath just to escape whining children. Still, you may have someone else tell you that stretching out for a short nap is their true meaning of self care while another may argue that only a trip to a spa for pampering treatments is more accurate. However, the true meaning of self care may surprise you because it entails so much more than all those things.
For some reason, the true meaning of self care has fallen short of what it really is. Instead of passing it off as some indulgence that is optional to feel more like your old self, it is an integrated approach for taking care of your entire self to restore balance of the physical body and mind.
Given this definition, you may be wondering how you would begin when you feel the pressure and exhaustion of life twisting you like a pretzel. Well, you need to start in the present to evaluate your health habits. How much sleep do you typically get? Do you eat right and not just to fill up on less nutritious fast or convenient food? Something else to think about is how much exercise that you really get or are you more of a coach potato? The genuine intention of self care doesn’t translate to taking drastic measures of how you live your life, but it does mean the importance of adopting some better health habits or habit. After all, even a minor change of a bad habit such as going to bed too late to an hour or two earlier can be to your advantage by showing yourself some self care.
The real trick is not thinking of that change as something you dread or ordered by your doctor or health professional, but as a thing that you do to help yourself. For example, you may just give up desserts in favor of fruit every day and notice how much slimmer that you are looking in your clothes or naked standing in front of the mirror. Once you see what that slight change in your diet did for your figure, confidence and health by lowering your chance of risking Type 2 diabetes, then you are more likely to be motivated to keep on improving your diet with healthier choices in the future as well. Just a like baby taking first steps, this is a small victory that can help you adopt exercising to firm up what may be flabby to further show off your more shapely figure.
Self care also is a peaceful state of mind over a chaotic one full of worry and anguish. You may find it is time to really evaluate the causes of what is causing all those negative emotions. Sometimes, we don’t admit what we can change freely. However, some problems are easier to address such as getting out of toxic friendships. No one is perfect, but when someone poisons your mind to manipulate or feel better about themselves at your expense, then the best thing for your self care is to get a new friend.
Life can be messy and you don’t say or do things right all the time, but self care is about the importance of compassion for you in your own life as well as others because no one is perfect. You don’t need to kick yourself. What you do need to do is remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and try to find a more diplomatic way to say something or help correct whatever you thought you might have done wrong.
The best piece of advice that I want to leave you with in regard to the meaning of self care is learning more to value yourself. Recognize that you matter just as much as your husband, wife, son, daughter, friends or boss, etc. to be the best that you can because it shows you have self-respect.
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