What is Self-Care? + 10 Ways to Cultivate It

 
 

Have you been hearing more about self-care lately? It seems that self-care has been the hot topic of the day, the week, the year.

So, what is self-care and how can we ensure that we’re practicing it for our highest benefit?

Self-care is a holistic approach to create priorities that surround and honor our mental, physical and emotional well-being.

Why is it so important that we practice self-care; that we make it a priority in our lives?

The truth is, we are solely responsible for ourselves and the quality of the lives we live. Even with friends, family, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, children, or even colleagues around us, it’s the care that we give ourselves that matters the most. It begins with us. We set the tone for our well-being, living our days feeling our best, and ultimately, for our overall happiness.

When we become more mindful of taking care of ourselves, we set the foundation for who we are and how we show up in the world around us. And that is the catalyst for what we receive back from the world we live in.

When we think of self-care we might think of candlelit baths, yoga, and carving out time to meditate or journal. While those are activities that definitely have a place in the overall practice of self-care, they aren’t the only ways to cultivate self-care in our lives.

Below are 10 areas in your life that you can begin to look at in order to increase and sustain your own self-care.

1. Trust your Intuition.

Learn to trust that voice inside of you. It’s speaking to you for a reason. And it knows you better than all of those external voices around you. “At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are, and you know what you want.” ~ Lao Tzu

2. Release the need to please others.

As I mentioned above, it is our responsibility to prioritize our self-care, which ultimately leads to our own happiness. Well, it’s the same for others; it’s their responsibility to please themselves and to create their own happiness and fulfillment in their lives.

You are not responsibility for anyone else’s happiness, joy, success, fulfillment, or self-care for that matter. You cannot control what’s going to make someone else happy, or how they’ll even receive your attempted gesture to make them happy. So let yourself off the hook, and release the unnecessary pressure you might be putting on yourself to please those around you.

3. Release the guilt of saying, “No”.

“No,” is a complete response that you’re entitled to. Saying no to a certain food if you don’t prefer it, to one more drink even though you’re friend really really wants you to have one more with her/him. Saying no to a night out when you know that what you need is a night in to rest. Whatever you’re presented with, if you feel the hesitation and that feeling in your gut that’s telling you it’s not what you prefer, just say no.

4. Refuse the drama.

In the lives of others. Gossip. Overreaction or overthinking that creates more drama in your life. Give yourself more freedom and lightness in your being, and release the drama. It doesn’t serve you, and can be a huge drain on your mindset and energy.

5. Keep your promises to yourself.

When you say that you’re going to do something to improve your life or your happiness, it’s imperative that you keep those promises and commitments to yourself. When you set new goals or want to create new, better habits for your life, and then you break them, you’re actually breaking trust with yourself. How would you feel toward someone who continuously broke promises they made to you? When you do that to yourself, it’s the same thing; you get used to not trusting yourself, and that can take a toll on your self-worth.

6. Be mindful of how you’re respecting yourself physically.

Are you getting enough quality sleep? Are you feeding your body with high-vibe foods? Are you moving your body regularly? If your home is a mess, wouldn’t you take the time to clean it, or hire a cleaning service to do it for you? If your car was in need of maintenance, you would get is serviced, would you? Ensure you’re giving proper attention and providing maintenance to your physical body. You are given one body in this lifetime. Treat it well. Respect the temple and the miracle that it is.

7. Set appropriate boundaries.

Setting appropriate boundaries might look like...

  • Setting boundaries surrounding your use of technology and social media.

  • Setting boundaries on how many social events your RSVP to in a week, or in a month.

  • Setting boundaries that allow for the space, quiet time or creative time that you require.

Or in other areas in your life. Where do you believe you can set better boundaries for your growth, happiness, and self-care?

8. Set the tone for quality, feel-good relationships.

How do you feel after hanging out with certain people? Do the relationships in your life really contribute to your happiness, growth, and well-being? Do you feel good about what you contribute, or bring to the table, in the relationships in your life?

We can absorb the energy and vibe of those we allow into our lives, which ultimately affects how we live and what our lifestyle is. Ensure you’re allowing in those relationships that serve you the most and lift you higher.

9. Your external package.

Externally, how do you feel? Do you schedule regular hair care? Do you feel good in the clothes you wear? Are you taking care of your skin with quality beauty products? Is your makeup old, or are your makeup brushes in need of cleaning? Are your nails trimmed, eyebrows waxed, or look how you like them? Flossing regularly?

These things might seem trivial and a pain to maintain, but they do contribute to how you feel on the outside, which boosts confidence and can contribute to an elevated mood.

10. How are you enjoying life?

Generally, do you enjoy your days? At work, do you like the people that you are around? Do you enjoy the work that you do? How often do you laugh?

As you get into your routine and the rhythm of your life, you’d be surprised at how often this big item might slip through the cracks. Take inventory on how how you’re really enjoying the life you live. If most moments and your daily routine just aren’t doing it for you, maybe it’s time to evaluate where you are, and where you’d like to be.

Self-care isn’t about being perfect or disregarding others in our lives. Self-care is about making sure we’re good, we’re taken care of, we’re satisfied and fulfilled. It means that we take responsibility and make our mental, physical, and emotional health a priority (no one else will do this for us). It means that we take responsibility for how we’re showing up in the world. The more self-care we give to ourselves means the more we can give back to these lives we’ve been given.