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What is Self-Care and How to Build Your Own Self-Care Plan

Self-care has been a trending topic since 2015 and especially during the pandemic. You may have heard health gurus teaching you about self-care or you may have come across self-care tips. But despite the buzz around self-care, many still fail to pay attention to it. Worse, some women feel guilty about taking care of themselves, thinking they’re being selfish. Self-care guilt is common.

Guilt is one of the biggest barriers to practicing self-care. This is because people equate self-care with selfishness. However, self-care is far from being selfish. When someone is selfish, that person is self-centered and is only thinking of his own interests. Self-care is far from that.

What Self-Care Is and Why It’s Important

Self-care is an act of taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s a time you dedicate to yourself in order to rest, recover, and regain your energy. It is not selfish at all because you need this recovery time in order to be the best version of yourself for others. Self-care is crucial to maintaining healthy and happy relationships.

For the individual, self-care prevents both mental and physical health problems. It relieves stress and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Resetting alleviates anxiety and depression, improves focus, and increases energy. Ultimately, taking care of yourself benefits the people around you as you become more productive and happier.

How to Practice Self-Care

The National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has 8 dimensions of wellness that can be used as a guide for developing your own self-care plan. You can build a self-care plan based on these dimensions, as recommended by Matthew Glowiak, Clinical Faculty in the Counseling Program of Southern New Hampshire University:

  • Emotional

  • Environmental

  • Financial

  • Intellectual

  • Occupational

  • Physical

  • Social

  • Spiritual

Here’s how a personal self-care plan may look like:

Other Ways to Practice Self-Care

1. Seek help when you need it. Many choose to avoid asking for help for the fear of being viewed as weak or incompetent. But seeking help is necessary to prevent unnecessary stress and to also help you get tasks done faster.

2. Rest. When you feel tired, it’s your body’s way of telling you to rest. Get enough sleep or take power naps when you can. Take the time off when you can no longer concentrate at work and when you are not feeling ell.

3. Learn to say no. You do not have to say yes to everything, especially when you can no longer handle it. Learn to say no to work you can’t do. Say no to damaging or toxic relationships that no longer work for you. Saying no in these instances is saying yes to yourself.

Make taking care of yourself a priority. Self-care is as important as sleeping, eating, and drinking water. People who forget to focus on themselves end up chronically stressed and exhausted, which have been linked to various health risks and reduced quality of life. Care for yourself so you can continue to live your best life.

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