I’m sure by now we have all heard the saying “You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.”
It’s the “place your oxygen mask on first before assisting others” analogy.
“But coach, I go to the gym, that’s taking care of myself.”
“Also, I get a message once a month too. Isn’t that self-care?”
Self-care is so much more than just going to the gym or getting a message, or whatever other things we call “self-care” these days.
And self-care is so important for both our physical AND our mental health.
Just like you can’t out train a bad diet, you also can’t only focus on working hard, training and eating well to reach your goals.
In order to truly accomplish whatever it is we set out for, we must come at it from a holistic health approach. That means we need to take care of our wellness from many different angles. Our physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and even our intellectual health.
So let’s take a look at how well we are really prioritizing our self-care.
To get started, let’s see how self-care is defined.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, self-care is…
“the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”
Or even better…
“the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
So what does that look like?
Well, here is a partial list of what self-care coud look like from a few different angles.
- Prioritizing quality sleep
- Exercising to feel good
- Eating to feel good
- Spending time outside
- Writing about your thoughts and feelings
- Breathing exercises
- Dedicated periods of no screen time
- Talking nicely about yourself
- Talking nicely about others
- Practicing gratitude
- Celebrating your accomplishments
- Celebrating others accomplishments
- Setting goals
- Advocating for yourself
- Setting boundaries
- Saying no
- Avoiding compassion
- Processing hard feelings and emotions
- Understanding your beliefs
- Having specific values that you live by
- Spending quality time with people who lift you up
- Spending time in nature
- Letting go of things that don’t serve you
- Letting go of things that are out of your control
- Creating a positive environment
- Acts of kindness
- Practicing mindfulness
- Doing things you enjoy doing
And the list could go on and on.
The point is, self-care is extensive in variety but important in the total quality of your overall health and the quality of your life.
Take a look at this list again. How many things from this list are you doing on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? How many of those things are you not doing?
Can you think of other ways that you are also taking care of yourself that maybe were not on this list?
We can set goals, work hard in the gym and at our jobs. But we have to spend time reflecting on what it all might mean to us in the end.
Your happiness and the quality of your life depends on it, today and if we’re lucky enough in our future too.
So don’t put off another day prioritizing taking care of yourself.