What Do Self-Care Practices Look Like?
Self-care has become a common buzzword. People from all walks of life are encouraged to engage in self-care practices to avoid burning out at work, navigate difficult life situations, and take necessary care of themselves. However, self-care involves more than just dealing with negative circumstances. It also includes setting boundaries and prioritizing your personal needs. Self-care is the intentional care you take to help promote mental and physical health for you and your family.
While a luxurious bath after a long day may be a self-care essential for some, it is not the one-size-fits-all solution for self-care needs. Self-care will look different for everyone, but it should always include some basic practices.
While there are countless diet fads, one of the easiest ways to take care of your health is by eating healthy foods that are rich in protein, low in fat, and contain essential vitamins and nutrients. Planning healthy meals, bringing lunch to work, and reducing take-out are ways to improve your nutritional health. (Bonus: Packing your meals can improve your financial health, too!)
Exercise is an important self-care practice for both physical and mental health, and it provides a positive brain boost as well. Exercise provides more oxygen to the brain and improves neuroplasticity, increasing neural connections and releasing beneficial hormones. Walking, running, yoga, and team sports are all excellent ways to add exercise to your routine.
Routine medical care is a self-care essential. Yearly physicals and dental exams can help you identify and address any medical concerns while keeping a baseline of critical health metrics such as heart rate, blood pressure, and total cholesterol.
Setting boundaries in relationships is a crucial self-care habit. This practice includes saying “no” when you do not want or have the energy to do something, keeping time for yourself, and noticing patterns of allowing others to take advantage of you.
Recognizing signs of being overworked is essential to address mental health needs. Signs of professional burnout can range from physical exhaustion to a lack of concern for the quality of your work. When you are aware of your needs, you can spot problems that arise and develop a plan to focus on family and friends, engage in a hobby, or take a break.
Intentionally caring for yourself is an integral part of being healthy. Keeping yourself from burning out can make caring for others easier too. While everyone benefits from a unique set of self-care practices, your focus should be on creating a physically and mentally healthy environment that enhances awareness and prioritizes your needs. Creating a proactive self-care plan is important, especially when dealing with stressful times and circumstances.