How does social media affect mental health?
"Self-care” may be the big buzzword in the wellness world right now, but done right, it can support your mental health and wellbeing in work and in life.
Discover what self-care is, the benefits of practicing it, and how to create your own self-care plan in this all-inclusive guide.
What is self-care?
Self-care is any activity taken in order to boost physical, mental, or emotional wellbeing. Good examples of self-care include creating time to relax, spending time doing physical exercise, or simply getting a good night’s sleep.
At Calmer, we believe self-care plays a vital role in looking after yourself and subsequently improving your relationships with work, life, and the people who you care about. It’s an inward investment that will also benefit others, and it’s something we all deserve to do. Self-care is not a selfish act.
Benefits of taking up self-care include:
- Clearer thought processes
- Less tension in the body
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased self-awareness
- Better productivity
Does self-care actually work?
With so many different ideas around self-care being thrown around, it can be hard to distinguish whether this is a marketing trend or a genuinely supportive activity to take up.
In its basic form, self-care is about doing an activity with the aim of looking after yourself. The term was coined in the 1970's, and it covers a number of different approaches, including mindfulness, meditation, and self-love.
The core of self-care is that it focuses on inwards activities - those that boost you mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is not about buying a new moisturizer, or a comfier duvet, although they are nice things to have.
How to create a self-care plan
As self-care is a personal activity, creating a self-care plan involves identifying the best activities that work for you. There are a few things you will have to consider, including:
- Which activities bring you the best results
- How frequently you wish to practice self-care
- What to do when you need a moment to restore balance.
Follow the three-step process below to create your very own plan that works for you:
1. Identify self-care activities that work for you
To get started in creating your personalized plan, decide which activities bring about the best results for you. Activities you may wish to consider for your self-care plan include:
- Exercising, either at home, in a local park, or at the gym
- Making a healthy, nutritious, and tasty meal - or even a whole batch!
- Checking in with your health and/or booking an in-person or virtual appointment with a specialist to discuss any health concerns you may have
- Spending time with your partner, friends, or family, whether that’s virtually or in-person
- Practicing meditation or breathing exercises
- Getting out into nature, especially if you spend most of your waking hours indoors
- Enjoying some leisure time, such as watching a film, reading a book, or playing a game
- Practicing good hygiene or pampering yourself with a facial or a massage
- Setting yourself up for a good night’s sleep - try getting 7-8 hours as a minimum
- Listening to music that improves your mood, or a podcast that inspires you
- Planning time off work - be it a trip away on a weekend, something longer, or simply enjoying time at home to relax and unwind
- Trying a new creative activity, such as writing a journal, painting, or sewing
2. Plan when you are going to practice self-care
To make your self-care plan as easy to follow as possible, put it in your calendar, journal, or whatever you use to organize your time.
If you like routine, try making each activity a recurring event, happening at the same time and the same place every week or every month.
If you prefer more spontaneous plans, make time to check in with how you feel on a regular basis, and factor in your self-care activities as and when you need them.
3. Create a self-care backup plan
In work and life, certain things can happen unexpectedly, and during those times you may need a moment to look inward and work on yourself. We recommend having a few self-care activities planned for when this happens - it could be as simple as taking a tea break, or perhaps planning to work from home during a particularly intensive project. Knowing what will make you feel better in times of need will make it a lot easier to manage your emotional, mental, and physical health when feeling stressed.
Remember: self-care is a proactive activity, meaning you will experience the best results when you plan your self-care activity and give yourself the time and awareness to fully enjoy it. You deserve to make time for yourself, and by investing in your self-care, you will improve your productivity at work, your quality of life, and your care for others.
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