Self-Care Your Way
There is only one way to practice self-care….. your way.
If you’ve read “The Art of Self Care” then you know it’s possible to find time and space to practice self care but the next question is ‘how’?
Many people believe that self-care is a ‘one size fits all’ proposition but the simple truth is it’s not! What works for me will not necessarily work for you. We all have different needs. Practicing self-care your way means you must look at what you need and what will fulfil those needs. And spoiler alert… this will almost always change across time as you and your needs change.
So where to start?
Develop a plan that is the right fit for you by identifying what your current needs are. Break down your needs into:
Physical (exercise, diet, sleep, healthcare)
Mental (stress management, personal growth, boundary setting, mental rest)
Emotional (companionship, affection, alone time)
Sometimes you need to sit with your feelings to recognise what emotional needs are not being met.
Now that you have identified what your needs are, it’s brainstorming time. Come up with actions and activities that will help you meet these needs. Write down a few different options for each identified need.
Stuck for ideas? Think back to your childhood. What activities brought you happiness and joy? Can these be transferred to your life now? When I was young and before I started “adulting” I loved to write. Stories, poetry, profiles, anything. Somewhere along the line I stopped. But then I remembered how much joy writing brought me when I was younger and started writing again. And now when I write, I am in my happy place.Whatever activity you decide upon, it should be one that lifts you up and leaves you feeling happy.
Once you have chosen an activity, consider the following:
Can you see yourself actually participating in this activity?
Practicing self-care requires you to make a commitment to yourself. Can you commit to this activity?
Sometimes the idea of a certain self-care activity can seem wonderful in theory but in reality does not gel well with you.
For example, you may decide that exercising at the gym is the way to meet your physical need for exercise but in reality, you actually hate gyms and working out in front of other people. Perhaps there is a better fit for you.
Is there a financial impact?
You do not want to be undertaking any activity whose cost increases your stress.
Do you have the time?
Some activities require a large time commitment. Before undertaking an activity make sure that you have the time. Stressing about how you are going to fit everything in is counter-productive to self-care.
Are you doing too much?
When trying something new or incorporating a new routine we can have the tendency to want to do it all and all at once. This is not always the best way to go especially when it comes to self-care.
There is nothing wrong with starting small by incorporating one or two self-care activities and building on these if and when you need to. You are more likely to commit and stick to your self-care practice if it is manageable and not overwhelming.
Follow these steps and you should have your very own self-care plan ready for you to put into action. Congratulations!