Self-care empowers people to be conscious about their well-being and take control of their health. We hear time and time again that self-care is critical… but what exactly is self-care? If you ask most people what self-care is they will give you a scripted list healthful activities: journaling, yoga, reading, jogging, meditation, or walking in nature. While these are great ideas, this response isn’t necessarily accurate. Self-care for one person is different for another.
Meditation has numerous health benefits and might be ‘self-care’ for one person, but for another person it might be part of a routine for healthy living, like exercising. We recognize and respect that approach to meditation. As personal trainers say, whatever gets you to the gym!
Self-care can be playing video games, going out for ice cream, seeing a movie, or getting a drink with your friends. Self-care is making time to do something that you genuinely enjoy that is good for your overall well-being.
5 Healthy Habits that Pave the Way for Self-Care
1. Evaluate your needs.
Get into the habit of pausing to reflect on your personal health needs. If you are frequently experiencing stress and anxiety, consider the root causes. Are you working too much? Isolating yourself and feeling lonely? Not sleeping enough? Whether you carve out time for a yoga class, a nap, or choose to spend more time with friends — if the activity brings you joy and benefits your overall well-being, then it is worth finding time for.
2. Rethink “selfish.”
There are people who believe that self-care is selfish. Taking time to understand your health needs and address those needs is not selfish, it’s responsible. “Make your business your health,” says Dr. Avdhoot Shivanand of AVS Mindfulness. “Without your health, you don’t exist. Learn to exist. When you are in a state of mindlessness and ignorance, you don’t exist. Physically, your body is there, the zombie is there. Don’t become a zombie.”
3. Create a routine.
Start small. Create a morning routine that includes some form of self-care, whether that care is taking 3 minutes to meditate, enjoying your coffee in peace, or starting your day with a hearty breakfast — find time for you. Once you incorporate small acts of self-care into your routine, you will feel more comfortable planning bigger activities like dinner with friends, weekend getaways, or a vacation. Make self-care a habit. Learn how to create a routine for success.
4. Cut the fluff.
“But I don’t have time for self-care!” Cut the fluff. If you have time to scroll for 30-minutes on social media each day, you can replace that time with something that you truly want to do: learn a new skill, read, call a friend, take a leisurely bath, or cook a fresh meal. Take notes on how you spend your time each day and “cut the fluff” — the unnecessary ways that you waste time that bring you little happiness. Replace that time with activities that make you feel productive, healthy, and happy.
5. Have fun, on purpose.
Schedule your fun! If you feel you have no time for fun, then get into the habit of scheduling your fun in advance. Set aside one night each week, or even just one afternoon each month, where you allow yourself to do something just for you. See a movie with friends or even by yourself. Don’t wait on others to enjoy your life. Scheduling your fun in advance will give you something to look forward to and anticipate, increasing your overall day-to-day happiness.
If you are interested in making mindfulness meditation a part of your self-care routine, learn how here. Enhance your practice with our instructional mindfulness app, slated for release in 2018! Visit avsmindfulness.com for details.