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What Does Self-Care Look Like?

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

The term “self-care” has been discussed much in all kinds of communities. No longer just for those who are focused on being conscious of their health, it seems to me that there’s a much wider circle of people who are discussing how to take care of themselves. Could it be that our many years of focusing on producing and output are starting to take its toll. Or perhaps we’re just now more aware of the effects of striving to do things constantly, in spite of what our bodies tell us we need?

Whatever the reason, it’s finally coming to the forefront of many people’s awareness. Sometimes our bodies force us to come to terms with self-care, in the form of illness or disease. Sometimes we are lucky enough to notice what we need before we experience these serious repercussions. It’s a great idea to take note of small things you can do before it gets to the point where you feel like you need a huge intervention. Based on conversations with others, here are a few ideas for how to figure out what works best for you to rejuvenate your body and soul:

  1. Sleep. I can’t overstate this one. Sleep in and of itself could be a whole topic, completely separate from self-care. Whether you are one of the lucky ones who can easily find a large chunk of time in which you can rest, or whether work, family, or health struggles affect your ability to rest for long periods of time, sleep when you can sleep. If you can only grab short naps, then do that. Listen to your body and what it needs. You might be able to force yourself to stay awake to do just one more thing, or to attend a late-night function, but that’s not necessarily what your body would choose to do.
  2. Down time. This is different than sleep. Down time is time when you are taking care of you, in a calm way that does not involve marking something off of your to-do list. Maybe it’s reading. Maybe it’s taking a walk just for the sake of walking — walking to errands is not what I have in mind here. Maybe it’s lying on your back and listening to music. Or creating something like a drawing, just for fun. Maybe it’s lying outside in a hammock, staring at the clouds. Whatever fits into this category, so long as you are relaxed and restful.
  3. Your tribe. Spending time with the people you can be yourself around is a huge piece of self-care. While all of us like to be alone at times (with those introverts among us liking more of those times), we also are replenished by the support of our tribe. These are the people who make you smile. These are the people you can’t wait to share news with, be it good or bad. These are the people you just feel a sense of ease around. This refills our cup in ways that nothing else can.

There are lots of other things people can do that would qualify as self-care. Making sure we get a shower or bath when we want one, eating adequately (does anyone else get somewhere after a busy morning and realize they forgot to eat breakfast?) and healthily for *our* bodies (this looks different for everyone!), and making sure our calendar has enough white space are all additional ideas. Take a few moments to sit down and make a list of 10 things you can do that you would consider self-care. Keep it somewhere handy, like on your bulletin board or taped to your wall. If you get into the habit of looking at it every day and making sure you’ve done at least one thing, you’ll soon have self-care melded into your life with ease.

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