Self-care has gotten a lot of press in recent years, and not all of it accurately represents what it is. We’ve all seen the “SelfCare” hashtag used for a spa trip or dietary splurge, sometimes even for a night out of alcohol and bad decisions. The way it’s represented on social media is often seen as an indulgence. However, that is not what self-care is, or at least, not all that it is. Self-care is something you can do every day, and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing.
What is Self Care?
Self-care is the practice of engaging in behaviors that promote health, manage disability, illness, and mental health. Self-care looks different for every person because it’s based on individual needs and limitations. The most basic elements of self-care are:
- Hygiene and nutrition.
- Moving on to seeking medical help when it’s necessary.
- Managing stress.
- And more complex elements of caring for one’s physical and mental health.
Prioritizing your self-care can enable you to live a fuller life. Whether it’s coping with your mental health, taking care of your physical health, or managing your disabilities, self-care can prevent illness or crisis.
How can you practice self-care?
There are many ways to practice self-care and live a richer, fuller life. In order to simplify it, we’ve broken it down into a few basic sections. Each section holds examples of tools you can use to help you with nutrition, hygiene, fitness, sleep, or stress.
Make a plan
The first step to self-care is knowing where you need to apply the most care. For example, do you struggle with proper nutrition? Is it a challenge for you to take a shower every second day? Are you unable to make it outside to get some fresh air, or have you found yourself isolated at home without a social connection?
It doesn’t matter what the issue is. What matters is how you choose to address it. Recognizing what the most important challenges are for you and addressing them in a way that resolves the issue with some permanence will help you feel mentally and physically better about your situation.
Let’s look at hygiene to examine some of the barriers someone could face to cleaning themselves or their homes and how they could practice self-care to address these situations.
For example, Tracy is struggling with depression, and she hasn’t had the energy to clean her home like she normally would. Additionally, she struggles with a form of body dysmorphia, which prevents her from feeling comfortable in the shower.
For Tracy, she could break cleaning her home into much smaller, manageable pieces. Instead of coming up with the energy to clean her entire bathroom, she just needs to remember to clean her toilet on Monday. Then on Tuesday, she could clean the sink, and Wednesday clean the shower. Making the task into smaller pieces can make them less daunting.
When Tracy makes a plan to shower once every two days, she also knows she’ll have to deal with her discomfort in her body. So instead of having to look in the mirror while she’s getting undressed, she could turn off the lights in the bathroom. This way, she’s avoiding a major trigger while still addressing the act of showering.
Ask for help
We regularly strive to teach children to ask for help, but we don’t continue to encourage that behavior when they become adults. Unfortunately, this is a cultural flaw that makes us feel too proud or too strong to ask for help. But when we reflect on the times that we see people ask for help, it always seems to be the strongest people looking for assistance.
It takes strength and wisdom to know when to ask for help — strength to overcome the fear of weakness and wisdom to know when to set aside the pride.
Let’s look at nutrition for a moment to address some of the barriers and how you could overcome them by asking for help.
Eating healthy is easier said than done. There can be physical challenges to accessing healthy foods. For example, there are no stores within a reasonable distance, there’s a lack of access to transportation, the cost of the food is higher than you can afford, or even a lack of nutritional knowledge to know what to get or how to prepare it.
If you face issues accessing food or have financial barriers to purchasing it, one of your first acts needs to include finding access to support. Meals on Wheels delivers in most cities to people who are unable to go to the store for themselves and, depending on the volunteers and location, can also help their clients access the grocery store. Local food pantries and food banks are also great charities from which to seek help. Some of these public services even run educational programs on how to eat healthy on a budget or how to access additional funds from different public programs.
The key to this one is that once you’ve identified a need that you cannot easily solve on your own, you address it by asking for help.
Find workarounds that fit you.
A good workaround is always satisfying. Finding an alternative solution to a consistent problem engages outside-the-box thinking and encourages independence. Both of these traits are something that can help you later in life.
In our first example with Tracy, who struggles with body dysmorphia, she found a workaround by not having the lights on in the bathroom when she takes a shower. This way, she doesn’t have to see her body and can protect herself on that front.
If you struggle with having the energy to make a healthy meal, self-care could be simply eating the ingredients to a healthy meal instead of making one. For example, no one said you had to make a sandwich — you can have a handful of shredded cheese, a couple of vegetables that you love, and a buttered piece of bread separate from one another. It’s a great way to ensure you’re getting the food you need without expending too much energy.
There are many ways you can find workarounds, ask for help, or make plans. We aren’t necessarily experts in self-care, but we believe in caring for yourself with our CBD products. If you have questions or concerns about your self-care, you can always contact our team for help.