By: Kelly D'Souza
Self-care is the act of taking care of one’s emotional, mental and physical well-being. The central component in the concept of self-care is “The Self.” We are aware that as individuals we may not sound the same way as one another, we have different likes and dislikes, and we have identities that may often differ from those of our family members. How to care for yourself will thus differ from someone else’s ideal strategy. The feeling of knowing who you are as a person, then, serves as your own instrument to make choices for yourself. It is important to note that the choices you make in terms of self-care can vary on several occasions.
While it’s important to check off your self-care list, it is ideal to focus on the habit formation of self-care. Sometimes self-care may not look like candles around your bathtub and walks with a loved one. It may look like readjusting the expectations you’ve set for yourself to make it more realistic. It might be the phone call you make to cancel a plan with a close friend after a long day at work. It might look like tears and a dearth of smiles in an attempt to accept and acknowledge your present feelings. On other days, it may feel like a heart brimming with gratitude.
It is as simple as putting what’s best for your mental, physical, and emotional health at the top of your list. If you have a deep urge to sit in silence, finding a space to unwind and enjoy true solitude would be more appropriate than going ahead with dinner plans with a bunch of friends. Self-care is not an event that shows up once a month. It’s an essential health habit that will regulate your life. The routine may include acknowledging strong emotions, being assertive, and saying “NO” when your body and mind don't want to participate in a conversation or activity. That in turn would require you to pay attention to messages from your body. It often involves accepting yourself just the way you are, letting go of your own mistakes, and being kind to yourself. It is the process of getting rid of self-judgement and loving yourself.
If you take care of your possessions and valuables, imagine how much more care you’d take of yourself if you began to value yourself more each day. Research suggests that self care enhances well being (Slonim et al, 2015). We urge you to join us in forming this beautiful habit of “self-care.”
Slonim, J., Kienhuis, M., Di Benedetto, M., & Reece, J. (2015). The relationships among self-care, dispositional mindfulness, and psychological distress in medical students. Medical Education Online, 20, 10.3402/meo.v20.27924.