Feeling worn out and in need of some self care? It’s worth getting to grips with exactly what that means and how it should be part of your day-to-day life.
First of all, what is self care?
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, self care is pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s the act of being aware of and nourishing our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. To put it even more simply, self care is about being kind to ourselves and treating our bodies and minds as we would treat others.
Why is it so important?
We all live busy and sometimes stressful lives which is why it’s important to take a step back every so often and have time completely to ourselves. Having me-time – whether that’s on a calming walk or singing along to our favourite song – can be great for boosting our energy levels, keeping us calm and promoting self worth.
Self care is often a hugely important part of improving mental health and many techniques can be used to manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression1. It can encompass numerous different things, from social and spiritual activities through to increasing your awareness of your emotions and the world around you.
What are the key benefits of self care?
Research has shown that self care techniques can have myriad benefits. In addition to replenishing our energy stores and improving our mood, practicing self care is also thought to:2
- Support our immune systems – As practicing self care can help with things like stress, it also indirectly has an impact on our physical health. Being worn out, over worked or overly anxious can weaken our immune systems and make us more susceptible to picking up colds and other illnesses.
- Improve our productivity levels – It’s hard to feel motivated when you’re tired and constantly at the beck and call of others. By slowing down and taking time every day to care for yourself, you’ll approach everyday tasks much more positively and willingly.
- Boost our self-esteem – Never thinking about yourself can have a bad effect on your mind as it teaches it to think that you don’t matter as much as others. By caring more about your wellbeing and showing yourself that you are important, you’ll reduce those feelings of negativity you might feel towards yourself and ultimately build up some self-esteem.
- Make us more compassionate towards others – When you’re feeling down and overstretched, it’s natural to be a little selfish. If you’re looking after yourself properly, though, and are happy, it’s much easier to set time aside to help others.
How can you improve your self care?
Wondering what exactly counts as self care? There’s an endless list of things you can do to support your individual wellbeing, including:3
- Soaking in a warm bubble bath and enjoying the scents and sensation of the water
- Strolling in the countryside and taking time to enjoy the fresh air and scenery
- Savouring something delicious such as a piece of your favourite chocolate
- Having a cuddle with a loved one or a pet
- Keeping a diary and writing down all your thoughts and feelings
- Reminiscing and laughing with others about past events
- Practicing meditation or mindfulness
- Doing something creative such as painting, writing or learning an instrument
- Joining a group with similar interests to you such as a book club or sports team
- Messaging or calling someone you’ve not spoken to in a while
It’s important to note that self care should never cause you to be unhealthy or unhappy. Your chosen self care techniques should aid in giving you a renewed sense of energy and work in the long run – not just be a short-term solution4. If you’d like to support your mental and emotional wellbeing in other ways too, why not consider taking a mood support supplement? Herbal capsules such as St John’s Wort have been used as natural remedies for mental health issues for years5, plus there are several oils and scent products which can be fantastic at promoting feelings of calm.