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What is "Self-Care"?

By Megan Delano on November 12, 2020
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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been more important than ever to take care of both our mental and physical health. A term that is often thrown around when referring to health is "self-care." In recent years, this phrase has often been thrown around when discussion over-indulgence acts like eating a carton of ice cream or binging an entire season on Netflix in one sitting. In reality, the practice of self-care is something we should plan ahead for and implement daily in our day-to-day routines, the same way we automatically set aside time to shower or eat a meal.

Self-care is not a selfish or indulgent act; it is a way by which we decompress from daily stress and take moments to collect our thoughts. It is important to keep in mind that self-care looks different for everyone depending on their preferences of what is helpful. One thing that can be true for everyone is that self-care practices can primarily be separated into four essential categories: social, emotional, physical, and spiritual. The purpose of self-care is to replenish our energy, mood, and social battery in order to carry on with a clear mind and healthy body. They should be tasks built into our already existing routines. A helpful way to keep track of these is by writing them into your calendar ahead of time or completing a self-care check list.

Below are a few examples of ways to practice self-care each day to promote better mental and physical health.

SOCIAL

  • Set social boundaries with others
  • Take a social media break
  • Spend quality time with a loved one
  • Ask for help when needed
  • Utilize support systems

EMOTIONAL

  • Journal
  • Connect with loved ones
  • Health coping skills
  • Self-compassion
  • Meet with a therapist

PHYSICAL 

  • Exercise
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Taking time to detach from technology
  • Eating healthy meals

SPIRITUAL

  • Gratitude Journaling
  • Prayer
  • Spend time in nature
  • Meditate
  • Plan time alone