INSIDE: How well do you take care of yourself? And when was the last time you did something that was just for you? In this post – the first part of my 7 Days to Better Self-Care series, I’m sharing the true meaning of self-care, why it matters so much and a few simple ways to treat yourself that you can try today.
The buzzword that gets used a lot by the media and in life-coaching and personal development circles to describe the things we do to take care of ourselves. Ask anyone to tell you what comes to mind when you say this phrase and I guarantee they’ll say something like spa days, long hot bubble baths, meditation or yoga.
And yes, these are all great ways to look after ourselves…who doesn’t like a spa day, right?! But the real and true meaning of self-care goes much deeper than that.
And so, in today’s post, I’m sharing what self-care is, why it matters and how to get started doing it. I’m also sharing a few simple ways to indulge in a little self-care and a few ways to treat yourself too. Because I know that if you’re reading this, you’re probably not doing it as often as you know you should – or would like. Am I right?! Let’s dive in!
What is self-care?
The term self-care might get used a lot but what does it actually mean? What are we really saying when we tell our friends we want to work on or need to focus on our self-care?
According to PsychCentral, self-care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health”. It’s about nurturing our mind, body and spirit and finding ways to take care of ourselves that build up the reserves of our internal resources so that they don’t become depleted.
Essentially, self-care is all about being as good to yourself as you would be to someone you care about.
It means showing yourself some compassion and giving yourself the attention you know you deserve. It means putting yourself first and finding ways to treat yourself and make yourself feel good. And it means allowing yourself to be vulnerable with others and to not be afraid of asking for help when you need it.
What self-care isn’t…
Self-care is about doing things that lift you up, that make you feel good and leave you feeling energised and refreshed. Anything that feels forced, that you don’t enjoy or leaves you feeling emotionally or physically drained afterwards is not self-care. This includes self-destructive behaviours and coping mechanisms such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs, gambling and retail therapy. All of which might make you feel good in the short-term but can have negative effects on your wellbeing in the long run.
The benefits of self-care…
Many of us feel guilty for spending time and resources on self-care. And sometimes, just the thought of taking time for ourselves feels incredibly selfish – especially if we’re used to putting everyone else first. But here’s the thing. Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. And there are a lot of benefits to practicing it too. Here are just some of them.
Self-care rejuvenates and energises you…
None of us can pour from an empty cup and when we’re exhausted and burned out, we’re no good to anyone – least of all ourselves. We all need to give ourselves time to recharge our batteries. And when we spend time and energy on ourselves, we feel rejuvenated and energised. Which in turn gives us the strength and energy to look after the ones we love.
Investing in yourself makes you feel more worthy…
Invest in yourself, be kind to yourself, make time for you and you’ll increase your sense of self-worth. Increase your self-worth and you’ll find you have better self-esteem too. Not only will you feel more confident but you’ll like yourself and trust yourself more. You’ll believe you matter, that you are good enough and that you deserve happiness. Which you do!
You’ll have a more positive outlook…
Give yourself time to recharge those batteries, indulge in your interests, do more of what makes you smile and very quickly your world will become a much happier place. And when you feel happier, you’ll have a much more positive view of everything around you. No more glass half-empty. Instead, you’ll be a lot more optimistic, you’ll be able to move past your mistakes without beating yourself up and you’ll find opportunity everywhere you look.
You’ll learn so much more about yourself too…
Self-care helps you cope with stress and prioritise what matters. The more you spend time with yourself, the more you discover about who you are and what makes you tick. And knowing what makes you tick makes it easier to figure out what you need to do to become the best version of yourself.
Examples of self-care and ways to treat yourself…
There are countless ways to add self-care into your routine. The key is to choose activities that are most enjoyable to you and ones that provide you with the most benefits. What works for a friend might not give you such great results and vice versa. So, don’t be afraid to spend a couple of weeks trying a few things to see what works best.
For instance, going for a walk in nature is great if you enjoy being outdoors. Take yourself off to the local park, forest or woodland. Borrow your neighbour’s dog or go for a walk with a friend. Pounding out your stresses on the streets can make you feel really good. And if you don’t often have time to read, it’s a great opportunity to catch up on an audiobook or two too!
Other forms of exercise like yoga, running, swimming, joining an exercise class or going to the gym work well, too. Anything that gets you moving and stretching and gets your blood pumping or increases your heart rate is going to be good for your mind, body and soul and leave you feeling energised and refreshed.
Learning to say no…
Spending time with friends can also be rejuvenating – especially if you’re an extrovert and recharge best in the company of others. But sometimes it’s good to say no too. Giving yourself permission to decline invitations and resisting the urge to say yes to helping someone out when you’re feeling run down is a big part of caring for yourself.
Finally, be sure to find a few ways to treat yourself. We all have the right to indulge in something naughty but nice once in a while. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth either. A movie, a manicure, a cheeky hot chocolate in your local café with the latest copy of your favourite celebrity magazine are all good examples. As is that long hot bubble bath – complete with candles and a glass of wine…which happens to be one of my favourites!
Other ways to treat yourself…
Whether you are looking for ways to treat yourself on a budget, you want to treat yourself at home or you simply want to start treating yourself better in general, all of the above are a great place to start when it comes to adding self-care to your daily routine.
If this post has whet your appetite and you want more ideas on ways to treat yourself, check out the lists below. Some of my favourite self-care pins, they’re packed FULL of awesome ideas to try.
100 ways to relax and destress that won’t break the bank from The Ways to Wealth:.
7 days of self-care and a few great ways to treat yourself from Arianna Beauty:
And here are a few ways to treat yourself for a job well done from Organise My House, because we all need to celebrate our wins, right?!
Want a regular dose of inspiration?
And if you want a regular dose of inspiration for all things self-care plus endless ideas on ways to treat yourself, be sure to follow my Self Care and Self Love board on Pinterest! I’ve scoured the web and curated this board with the very best posts on not only how to give yourself a treat but how to make your wellbeing a priority too – without feeling guilty about doing it!
Super simple ways to treat yourself…
Now you know what self-care is and why it’s so important. You’ve also got some ideas of how to get started in bringing a little more self-care into your every day. You’re well on your way to adding this highly beneficial practice to your life!
Just make sure you don’t save these ways to indulge in self-care and treat yourself for your birthday only. Be sure to do them all year round. Pick your favourites and pamper yourself every day!
That’s it for this post! What are some of your favourite ways to treat yourself? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
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Did you like this post? Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this 7 Days to Better Self-Care series:
- How to easily add a self-care routine to your day
- Three surprisingly easy ways to take better care of yourself
- The self-care toolkit – what it is and why you need one
- Five of the best cheap and easy self-care ideas
- How to not feel guilty about taking time for you
- How to put yourself first – today and every day