|Anyone who has read my previous blog articles knows that I'm a huge advocate for self-care. This may have something to do with the fact that I'm a trained therapist.. or simply because it's just so important to me that we take time to care for our health and well-being in order to prevent mental and physical ailments and to enjoy life. Either way, I wanted to explore the concept of self-care in more detail.. so here we go!
What actually makes up the anatomy of a great self-care routine? Each of us are born with our own unique qualities, personalities, and biological makings. We each form a distinct value and belief systems as we mature and grow. Yet there seems to be some fundamental areas of life that are essential or beneficial to foster in order to live a healthy and full life.
This article will explore six of these fundamental areas of life that can combine to make up the anatomy of a great self-care routine (but keep in mind there are many more areas - for the purposes of time, we'll keep this post to six). As we explore each area, ask yourself the follow questions:
1) How does this fundamental area of life measure up in my own life?
2) What could I be doing differently to improve on a particular area so that I can reap the benefits of a great self-care routine?
The fundamental areas of life we will explore in this article that make up the anatomy of a great self-care routine are:
Healthy Eating | Solitude | Enjoying Interests | Socializing | Reflection | Rest & Relaxation
Nourishing our bodies is essential for life and although a human can go several weeks without food and survive, the impact of malnourishment can be hugely detrimental. The benefits of a healthy diet are seemingly endless including improving mood, preventing or combating illness and disease, increasing energy and longevity of living.
Consider your own eating habits and what dictates the food that you eat. Are these habits contributing to healthy eating? If not, what can you change in order to begin nourishing your body and soul with healthy foods?
Need some help? Talk to your doctor, a nutritionist, or check if your workplace has an employee assistance program that you can access for free support.
>>> Check out: The Complete Detox Nourish Cleanse Free eBook: 17 Nourishing Smoothies & Drinks
As we live in a digital world, it can sometimes feel impossible to ever be truly alone. The world is at our fingertips and the devices we use on a daily basis help us to connect to others or keep up with current news around the world. Yet solitude and being alone can be an important component to a self-care routine. Mindfulness practices can help a person benefit from being alone.
Some of the benefits of mindfulness or meditation practices include:
>>> Check out: A Guided Awe Walk Meditation or Top 3 Mental Health Apps
Even from a young age, each of us gravitates towards certain interests or activities that we enjoy engaging in. These activities may be influenced by the environment we live in or the access to a particular activity, but engaging in activities that promotes happiness or increased satisfaction in life can also contribute to a great self-care routine.
Consider your own interests in your life at the moment.. have these changed, or stayed the same throughout your life? How do you feel when you're participating in a particular interest or activity? How does this activity benefit your life?
In recent years, I have started to learn to crochet (with the help of my very talented and crafty mom). Knitting and crocheting have been shown to decrease stress and promote physical and mental health - plus you can make some pretty cool stuff! What interests do you have?
>>> Check out: Health Benefits of Crocheting and Knitting
Humans are social beings, and just as important as spending time in solitude, spending time around others is also very important to promote a healthy self-care routine. Socializing can increase life satisfaction, decrease stress, and can even improve cognitive functioning.
Studies have shown that although socializing can be beneficial for people of all ages, the social interactions that older people experience can be just as important as physical activity. Regardless of your age, consider how your social life fits in with a healthy self-care routine for yourself or how spending time with others can increase your overall well-being.
Watch the TED talk below where Nicholas Christakis talks about the connection between an individuals friends and social network and how this can influence your health and happiness levels (in both positive and negative ways).
>>> Check out: Research on the benefits of having a Social Life and Brain Fitness
Gaining insight and awareness about the actions we take or the experiences we have can also be part of a great self-care routine. As I shared in a previous post about Reflective Journaling, "being reflective is the process of using metacognition, which refers to taking the time to think on a deeper level about ones own thinking, in order to acquire a different perspective of these thoughts that may have been overlooked at first. Reflection allows an individual to more carefully consider the profound experiences that have impacted on their lives, or become critically aware of how these experiences have shaped them in some way".
Practice being reflective by:
>>> Check out: 5 Ways to Build Self-Compassion Into Your Every Day Life and Reflective Journaling: A Step-by_Step Guide
Rest & Relaxation
And finally, rest and relaxation is a very important component of a great self-care routine. Having down time allows us to recharge, improves motivation and concentration levels, and allows our bodies to centre. What helps you to relax your mind and body?
Some examples might be:
>>> Check out: Self-Care Strategies: 10 Ways to Promote Well-Being
I hope you enjoyed this post exploring some of the essential areas of a self-care routine. Hopefully you have gained some insight or built on your existing self-care strategies so that you can take care of yourself throughout the day.
In case you're looking for more resources to help with your mental health and well-being, check out the resource page (including access to free resources):
Miss last weeks blog post? Check it out now: Surprising Facts About Financial Well-Being & Mental Health
References: healthline.com, mindful.org, apa.org
*Some links on this page are embedded with affiliate links. Any revenue that I receive through affiliate marketing helps me to keep the rates charged to clients lower so that more individuals can access therapy at an affordable rate.