“Self care is something that refuels us rather than takes from us” – Agnes Wainman, Psychologist
When was the last time you deliberately took some time off for yourself and engaged in activities that relax you, rejuvenate you, that brighten up your mood and give you a more positive outlook on your day to day life?
Let’s think of ourselves as a car engine. The car functions well when its fuel levels are good. Over time, these resources reduce and we need to stop and replenish it. The car doesn’t function at its best when it doesn’t have any fuel in it. This is what self care is. Self-care is our fuel. It is a necessity.
Self care promotes mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
All of us are running through our day checking off things from our “have to” lists. Self care is something that is to be in our “need to” list. Our hectic schedules at times might leave us exhausted, hopeless and even put a strain on our personal relationships. Self care adds a lot of advantages to our plates. It helps us in building up our resilience, which comes into action when we face extremely stressful life events. Practising self care is linked to better self esteem and confidence levels, higher motivation and better functioning on a physical level, too!
Self care need not be considered as a selfish act. It is a tool that helps us have a better relationship with ourselves as well as with others. It is our “me time”; something that is sacred to everyself care does not cost anything, but its value is paramount. Checking in with yourself, acknowledging your current state and your emotions is self care. Doing so, we can take care of ourselves and be able to effectively look after the people around us.
Every person, whatever their age may be, can practise and avail the many benefits of self care. Learning the skills of self care at a young age can reduce the risk of developing mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
As someone who is transitioning from teenage to adulthood, and facing a whole new level of changes and challenges, I, too, have realised the true value of self care. With regular self care activities, I have observed a significant betterment in my physical health and also found a new sense of love for myself.
A long spa day or mini vacation every now and then sure seems very nice. In practicality, however, it’s something that is not possible for everyone. So how can we include self care in our life?
I remember, a few days ago, it was a particularly stressful day for everyone in my family. We decided to play a game of carrom later that night. Before we even realised, we were on our 5th round! Faces full of joy and energy, conversations brimming with excitement, reminiscing the good old days and childhood memories. Just like that, we as a family, found our new self care routine.
Self care looks different for everyone. It does not have the one-size-fits-all characteristic. For someone it can be cleaning the clutter in their room, for another it could be putting on fresh bed sheets!
The key to self care is to start small. The smallest of activities can have the biggest of effects. It can be as simple as taking a walk, listening to your favourite music or perhaps having a nice hot shower. Even meditation, having a proper sleep schedule , exercising or engaging in some creative activity can be helpful.
In light of the ongoing pandemic, almost all of us have experienced some big changes in our lives; be it schooling or our work environment. Adapting to change can be hard, making self all the more important.
Being stuck at home can be tough. Everything can feel overwhelming. This is where self care kicks in. Sitting in one place, hours together in front of a screen is a tiresome job. Aren’t power naps in the digital age golden? Taking regular breaks, stretching yourself a bit or talking to your loved ones can do wonders.
Self care also includes having regular health check-ups, following up on doctors’ appointments or even adopting a healthier diet.
Seeking therapy can be a form of self care, too. By doing so, we are taking a step to help us grow, to understand ourselves better and make better choices.
Self care, however, can be difficult to implement. It is an intentional practice. Like any activity, it takes time for us to get into the flow. What we need to keep in mind is that these little steps we would be taking will not only boost us today, but also keep us fueled for the long run ahead!
By Esha Sonarikar
Trainee at EMOTICONS India