Self-care isn’t about being selfish. It’s about maintaining your emotional, physical, and financial well-being. Limiting self-care to mere hygiene and physical means might’ve worked 50 years ago, but not in today’s culture.
The increasing complexity of our daily lives demands that we take care of ourselves more than we used to do before. The Google Trends results showing a 2 times increment in the search results that included “self-care” is a roaring proof of that.
Certain things still need to be discussed before you can start your journey on self-care. Let’s discuss that in this article.
Physical Self-Care and Health
Physical self-care isn’t limited to staying active and keeping a healthy weight. A person who cares for their physical self is aware of their limitations, conditions, and unhealthy habits. Despite being the most discussed aspect of a self-care routine, physical health is disregarded by most.
Strategies involved in physical self-care include:
We often confuse being active with training with strategy, which involves hitting the gym or the circuit. It doesn’t have to be that. Maintaining a gym routine may be beneficial, but avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is also critical.
We often require sitting at desks throughout the day, promoting an inactive lifestyle. Walking and running can be effective to mitigate the issue.
In general, cardiovascular training has immense health benefits like improved cardiovascular circulation and lowered blood pressure.
Walking is an effective form of physical activity. It doesn’t require energy on the level of running but has a similar effect on the heart and bones. Meeting the 150-minute goal of physical activity recommended by experts may seem overwhelming. To get you started, go for a daily 10-minute walk.
Apart from cardiovascular or endurance training, you can keep an active lifestyle by hitting the gym and doing strength or weight training. Strength training increases your muscle strength and lets you keep doing activities that you love. Just like cardio training, weight training also helps you sustain better heart health.
Experts recommend strength training at least thrice a week for teens, and twice a week for adults.
A healthy diet depending on your BMI and target weight is the way to physical self-care. Eat sensibly and be mindful of what you eat.
Avoiding added sugars present in syrups, foods, and drinks may not be possible, but it can be minimized. If you have a sweet tooth, falling back on milk and whole fruits may be a better alternative.
Follow limitations on sugars, fat, carbohydrates, proteins, and other nutrients according to your nutritionist. It is the key to maintaining a healthy and sustainable diet. But unfortunately, due to our improved and busy lifestyles, we often fail to acknowledge it.
If you’re unable to follow a strict diet, at least try to keep yourself aware of the limitations and try implementing them whenever possible.
Get Enough Sleep
Most adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep on any regular day. A good night of sleep includes 2 stages of light sleep, a stage of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and deep sleep.
REM sleep happens during the first 90 minutes of closing our eyes and before we doze off to deep sleep. REM sleep is the stage when we mostly dream and our brain aligns and stores the information that we’ve gathered throughout the day.
Not getting enough sleep may cause issues like memory problems, depression, lack of motivation, and irritability.
A basic personal hygiene routine includes:
- Washing your body every day
- Brushing your teeth
- Washing your hands with soap
- Washing your private parts daily
Sexually active or not, keeping your private parts clean is the way to save yourself from sexual diseases, infections, and for women, chronic yeast infections. Vaginal itching, burning, and many other tangential issues may occur if you lack personal hygiene.
Most often, yeast infections happen because of the imbalance between the candida fungus and lactobacillus bacteria. Good probiotics for vaginal health help to increase the good lactobacillus bacteria in your vagina that keeps the yeast colonies in check. But for long-term improvements, keeping yourself clean is the way to go.
Emotional Self-Care and Health
The emotional self-care of an individual is determined by their awareness, acceptance, and ability to manage emotions. This is even more important in times of distress. A lot of people think that emotional self-care is exclusive to individuals who have mental illnesses. Because of this, healthy people rarely seek help for the reason of taking care of their emotional well-being.
But, fortunately, the social stigma around emotional health is decreasing. With increased awareness, the number of individuals seeking help also has increased.
Ensuring physical well-being by neglecting emotional distress, has proven to be futile. The correlation between mental health and physical well-being was proven multiple times by different researchers.
Some instances of correlation between physical and emotional well-being may include:
- Children fall ill before and during exams
- Workplace stress causes depression and anxiety
- Life events make someone susceptible to cardiovascular issues
Emotional self-care is practiced through several activities that require acceptance, awareness, and manageability. A toolkit is also made available by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for those who are seeking emotional self-care.
The correlation between physical and emotional well-being is inevitable. You need to ask your body about the sensations that certain emotions bring. Like:
- Does your chest physically hurt when “heartbroken”?
- Do your overwhelming emotions have a smell, color, or temperature associated with them?
These self-assessments make you aware of the existence of emotions that you may have neglected for a prolonged period.
Exercising, weight loss, and sports also are associated with emotional self-care. Being involved in controlled physical activities helps boost dopamine and keep you happy.
Help doesn’t necessarily need to be mental health professional. Visiting a psychotherapist, despite not having symptoms of mental illness, won’t hurt.
Keep your friends and family around, explicitly ask for their support, and make yourself comfortable venting it out. Also, be prepared to be more supportive when your friends come to you seeking emotional help.
Being Emotionally Self Aware
Being self-aware takes practice. If you’re ever confused about your emotions, take some time off and practice mindfulness. Sit idle with your emotions and determine how it feels.
Don’t judge yourself for having these feelings. Remember, emotions are like a tide. You can acknowledge it, ride it, and let it pass. Emotions are there to help you identify if there’s something wrong. They’re not there to hurt you.
Practice Identifying if Something is Within Your Control
A lot of bad things can happen in our lives but most of the time, these things are outside our control. It’s good practice to identify if a situation is within our locus of control or not.
If it’s something that we can directly influence, then great! It’s easier to find solutions to a problem that you have direct influence over. But if it’s something that is out of your control, then excessively stressing about it is just futile. It’s a waste of time, effort, and mental space.
Financial Self-Care and health
In today’s world, caring only for your physical and emotional health isn’t enough. Our finances can and do determine emotional peace and physical well-being. Thus it’s important to discuss the ways you can take care of yourself financially.
Track Your Expenses
The first step towards financial self-care and freedom is tracking your expenses. Even if you earn more than you can spend, keeping a tab on what makes you spend the most can be beneficial for you in the future. If you ever want or need to curtail your expenses, the spreadsheets are what you would fall back on.
Most people follow a 50/30/20 lifestyle. 50% of their income is spent on rent, bills, and other necessities. 30% is reserved for luxuries, and 20% for savings. Although it’s a starting point, not everyone can follow the recommendation due to their limitations in earning.
Reflect on Your Relation With Money
Self-reflecting on your relationship with money will determine how much change you can make to your financial health. Being financially anxious and stressed due to loans can bring negative health effects. Sit down and fall back on your expenses to determine what needs to change and what can be done about it.
Where do you want to go financially in the future?
Why do you need to achieve it?
What do you need to do to achieve it?
These three questions will help you create your financial goals. If your objective is to buy a house, the amount of effort and sacrifice that you need to make isn’t similar to, say, if you want to own a car.
Reflecting on what small changes you can make to your finances that may contribute to the goal will help you live a healthier life.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you’ve understood how you can achieve the highest level of self-care to sustain your health. Physical self-care consists of leading an active lifestyle, following a good diet, and getting enough sleep.
Emotional self-care mostly includes being self-aware and seeking help. Tracking your expenses and creating a goal is fundamental for financial self-care. These 3 aspects of self-care help us maintain a healthy,anxiety-free lifestyle.