If you’ve ever googled self-care then you might have left that search feeling more confused or overwhelmed than informed, because if you search for the meaning of self-care, here are a just a few of the definitions that come up on the first page of search results:
First up, physical needs - this is anything that relates to your physical health. This is probably the area of our wellbeing that most of us are most comfortable checking in with, but it is possible to live in your own body and not actually be in tune with it. So, check in with yourself regularly and become aware of the different things you are experiencing physically in your body and the sign and signals it sends you.
To do this I love to do a body scan, where I check in with each part of my body by imagining I am scanning down it with a light, checking in with each area the light passes over to see what I'm feeling. You can ask yourself things like, where am I holding tension? Where am I feeling pain? What other things are you feeling in your body, can you name them or identify them? Can you think of what is causing this and then, can you choose an action to respond? So if you're holding tension in a clenched jaw, you might respond to that by giving yourself a face massage or booking an appointment with your dentist. If you're feeling a lot of aches and pains you might decide to run a hot bath with some salts.
Check in, identify what you feel, respond.
This is all about getting to know yourself and really building a relationship with yourself so you can understand your emotions, what triggers them, changes them or activates different ones and how you can help soothe yourself through those more challenging emotions. An excellent resource that I would recommend for getting to know this area of your wellbeing a little better is Dr. Julie Smith’s book Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?
Another great tool for emotional self-care that I use daily, is journaling and I've created a 7 day email course to help introduce you to mindful journaling for mental health, which your can register for FREE here.
We give a lot of our own energy, time and attention to the different relationships in our lives - our personal relationships, our work relationships, our friendships, our partners, our families and children. Part responding to this area of your wellbeing is learning to recognise when you’re socially drained and taking some alone time to recharge. Another side to this is making sure that what you pour into others is being returned in some way, so that means planning and creating social opportunities that will allow you to feel connected to others in a meaningful way. Reflect on the people in your life that create those experiences for you and make sure that you’re connecting with those that fill you up and creating boundaries around the relationships that drain you.
want to dive into this topic more? listen to this episode of Fill Up Your Cup...