Some days it is about those things. Other days though, what we truly need in life is something a little bit different.
Too often the media tries to commercialize self-care, describing it only through material possessions like face masks or vacations. This is one way to do it, sure. But is it your way? Is it what you need right now?
Listening to your body will help you determine what self-care looks like for you. Think about the parts of your life that you feel needs some nurturing.
Maybe for you, that's sleep. When you are lacking sleep, so many other parts of your life suffer as a result - including your mental well-being. Cancelling plans in order to get to bed earlier might be what you need to take care of your body. Sleep is a critical part of self care, which is why we have outlined some tips on ways to improve your quality of sleep.
Maybe getting out of the house and spending time with your friends is exactly what you need. Surrounding ourselves with people who fill our lives with joy and positivity is an excellent way to take care of ourselves. This can be one person, a group of people, or even your pet; whatever brings a smile to your face and makes you crave more of that happiness you are feeling.
Maybe, self-care means spending a Saturday cleaning. A little less glamorous, we know. You would be amazed what a difference decluttering your life can have on your overall well-being, especially if it's something that's been bothering you for a while.
Speaking of less glamorous, it is also important to mention that sometimes, self-care isn't pretty. It can be about doing what's difficult in order to live your truth.
For instance, self-care could be letting go of anything that is tearing you down. Perhaps this is a job with a toxic environment, a school program you know is not for you, or a relationship that no longer serves you. Whatever it may be, life is too short and your energy is far too precious to be spent on people or things that don't serve your highest good and well-being. It's time to stand up for what you deserve.
Speaking of work and school, self-care is also about not taking the stress of these things home with you. You may have to continue working or studying when you get home, and that's normal. However, whenever you decide to be done for the day, do not allow any negativity or stress from the day's work to bleed into the rest of your day/evening.
Self-care is also about being physically active and eating right, even when you feel exhausted. Exercise and healthy eating are vital component of self-care. This does not mean you have to do an activity you hate or that you have to eat perfectly 24/7. If you don't like running, perhaps try something like yoga, rock climbing or biking. If you know that after school/work you are going to be too tired to make yourself something healthy, consider doing meal-preps on the weekend to take away the cooking throughout the week.
Self-care is about asking for help when you need it - even if you're scared to do so. If you are telling yourself that asking for help shows weakness or that it is something to be ashamed of, let's stop right there. This could not be further from the truth. Recognizing that you need/want support shows an immense amount of strength! None of us can do this all on our own - eventually we all need the support of others. This support could be in the form of a counsellor, a friend, a family member, a colleague, or even your pet!
Finally, self-care is about showing yourself grace. Forgiving yourself when things don't go the way you had hoped. Allowing yourself to cry when you feel the need. Respecting the limits of your body. And of course, allowing yourself to say “no” to others and “YES” to yourself!
For a full list of self-care activities, please checkout our article