In order to help with our spiritual wellbeing, it is important to also consider our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Neglecting one or more areas will result in an imbalance that has an overall negative effect on us.
What is Self-Care
The dictionary defenition of self-care is:
- The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.“autonomy in self-care and insulin administration”
- The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress
Anything we do to keep ourselves in good shape physically, mentally and emotionally is a type of self-care. The most common self-care practices that people are aware of are exercise and good nutrition. There are literally countless websites, articles, books, videos and blogs dedicated to these subjects. However, whilst they are very important, they are not the only aspects we need to concentrate on for total wellbeing.
Most people forget or neglect to care for their mental and emotional selves, two areas of self-care that are just as essential as the physical aspects.
Part of this is that we live in such a busy world that we have to prioritise what we think is good for us alongside the things that we have to do, such as working. We make time for the gym, to have our meals or to socialise. More often than not, we either forget or neglect to plan in any time for activities for our minds and emotions. Why? Well, we simply prioritise other activities over ourselves, or we feel like it is selfish and indulgent to have specified time for ourselves.
Why is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is important because it allows us to remove ourselves from the stresses in our lives, it gives us an output for our emotions and it also allows us to recover from stresses and traumas.
If we don’t look after our whole self, (physically mentally, emotionally and spiritually) it can lead to a build up of stress, resulting in emotional problems, physical discomfort and sleep disruption.
Physically, stress responses create chemical reactions within our bodies as we react to situations, like the flight or fight response. These chemicals can be detrimental to us if we are subjected to them for extended periods of time causing physical symptoms like:
- General aches and pains.
- Chest pain or a feeling like your heart is racing.
- Exhaustion or trouble sleeping.
- Headaches, dizziness or shaking.
- High blood pressure.
- Muscle tension or jaw clenching.
- Stomach or digestive problems.
- Skin complaints.
Extended exposure to stress can cause emotional symptoms such as:
- Low libido.
- Memory and concentration issues.
- Mood swings.
These physical and emotional symptoms can then begin to add to the initial stressor, building to a point that it causes the cycle to repeat itself.
All of the above symptoms can impact on our energy bodies, with these negative emotions and physical responses creating problems within our chakra’s, (energy centres). This upsets the balance of energy flow within our systems, or even energy blockages, which can result in additional emotional, physical or mental symptoms.
Things You Can Incorporate to Assist With Self-Care
How Can We Implement Self-Care Into Our Lives?
Self-care doesn’t have to take huge chunks of your time, or be complicated. One of the biggest excuses for not taking time for self-care activities is “I just don’t have time”. Whilst time may be tight, there is definitely time in the day to squeeze in some activities for yourself.
You may commute to work, why not use some of that time to listen to some music or read? You may spend 30 minutes of an evening scrolling through social media, why not take 10 minutes of that back to have a mindfulness session? You may have a spare half an hour before your next appointment, why not take 10 minutes for a short meditation? You may decide to add an extra 10 minutes to your shower time and opt for a relaxing bubble bath instead.
Managing your time rather than stretching your time will help you to create space for these types of self-care activities.
Examples of self-care activities are:
- Physical exercise.
- Nutritious food.
- Personal hygiene practices, (e.g.: bubble baths or indulgent showers).
- Leisure hobbies.
- Good sleep habits.
- Engaging with nature.