The single most important person that you’re responsible for taking care of is yourself. From an inward approach, you can’t reach your peak mental and physical state when you’re not practising self-care. A better version of you is unleashed when you start taking care of yourself. From an outward approach, you can’t love people when you have not learnt to love yourself. You can’t take care of others when you barely know how to take care of yourself. As the popular saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. Because of the important role it plays, this is going to be the ultimate guide to self-care.
What exactly is self-care?
Self-care is as straightforward as it sounds: taking care of yourself. It is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health (Psych Central). Therefore, it involves the whole being. When you start practicing self-care, you are tapping into every aspect of your existence. You’re making sure that you’re nourished, and therefore able to positively interact with yourself as well as the world at large.
The importance of self-care
Taking care of yourself is important for a number of reasons. A broader perspective reveals two main reasons as to why self-care is important. These have already been mentioned in the blog post and they are that: 1) You will be able to positively interact with yourself and 2) You will be able to positively interact with the world at large.
Car Analogy 🚗
For the purposes of this analogy, I want you to see yourself as a car (which is a machine). Cars are great and they offer us lots of convenience. We are able to tap into this convenience through the use of the car. You can use the car to drive to work, drive your children to school, go to the grocery store, go to the mall, or even go on a 1000km road trip. Although the car was indeed designed to perform all these tasks, if it not taken care of during use, it will break down. There are two ways in which the car can be taken care of: by voluntarily taking it to get serviced at the recommended intervals, or being forced to take it to get fixed when it breaks down.
Now, I want you to think of yourself as a car, because you too function like a machine. If you are always working (your job, school work, around the house, or anywhere else) you can either choose to deliberately take care of yourself at regular intervals, or you’ll be forced to take care of yourself when you eventually burn out and break down. This is why it is easier and more efficient to take the time to care for yourself, so that you don’t end up dealing with a lot of burn out.
Sometimes people convince themselves that they simply don’t have time to take care of themselves as they are occupied by “more pressing matters”, but for the purposes of productivity, this is the worst way of looking at it. When there is an eventual burn out, you are going to lose even more time from your work, and productivity falls to a minimum. Even if you do try to get some work done, it won’t be your best work.
Last thing in terms of the car analogy (I promise 😂🤞🏾), even if a car does not travel the recommended kilometres before a year, it still needs to be taken in for servicing. In the same way, even if you are not extremely busy, you still need to take care of yourself. That way, when you do get busy, you’ll be well rested and able to handle it.
The interaction with yourself
On this blog, our motto is that happiness is the main priority. When the different aspects that make up who you are are balanced and taken care of, you find yourself in a happier and more peaceful state of mind. Happiness is not a destination, it is a journey. When the things that are most important are taken care of, this has a positive impact on our lives and our daily mood. Mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual health all intersect and result in who you are, what you do, and how efficiently you do it, depending on how well they are being taken care of.
When you take care of yourself, you’re operating from a place of comfort and not uneasiness. It results in you feeling good, which is the only goal for most people. But it also goes beyond that, which is also a goal for other people. Feeling good results in you doing good. When you’re in a good place mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, you’re able to take on projects and give them your all because you now have a lot to give. You’re able to do everything to the best of your ability, because your best abilities have been rejuvenated by self-care.
Everyone deserves to feel like the best version of them self; happy, content, relaxed, motivated, divorced from stress, not anxious, and all other positive feelings. It’s impossible to experience these things 24/7 but it’s possible to experience them more often than not and self-care helps to achieve this.
The interaction with the world
When thinking of the relationship between self-care and your interaction with the world, the most important quote is “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. This is a particularly helpful quote to people who are giving of their energy, resources, love and any other thing. If you want to give someone juice from your own cup, but there’s no juice in your cup, that action will be impossible. In the same way, you can’t successfully give someone else your energy when you have none yourself. You can’t successfully give someone else your love when you have none yourself.
Self-care allows you to pour into yourself, so that you are in turn able to pour into others. Taking care of yourself will ensure that you have enough energy that you can then pour into someone else without burn out. Taking the time to learn about yourself and love yourself will ensure that you have enough love to pour into others: your friends, family or even strangers.
Now that we’ve discussed and explained what self-care is as well as the benefits that come with it, it’s time to look into ways you can take care of yourself. Remember that there are different aspects that make up who you are, and all of them have to be nourished. Examples of this are the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects. Different things work for different people, so be sure to find out what works for you and begin that journey of taking care of yourself! Whatever makes you feel relaxed, calm, peaceful and happy is what should be part of your self-care. It’s all about making yourself feel good and fuelled up.
I will write a separate blog post offering some self-care ideas and tips, so make sure you’re subscribed to my blog so that you don’t miss that post. But for now, here are 15 ideas for self-care to get you started.
15 ideas for self-care✨
- Read a book
- Watch YouTube videos
- Listen to a podcast
- Have a relaxing shower/bath
- Manicure and pedicure 💅🏾
- Listen to music
- Take a walk
- Find a new hobby
- Drink water
- Eat healthy
- Have a skin care routine
It’s extremely important to take time for and take care of yourself. It allows you to feel your best, and even more, do your best. Find out what works and brings out the most positive emotions in you then do more of that! We have to operate less from a place of stress and uneasiness and more from a place of relaxation and calm. Take good care of yourself and enjoy the process as well as the results 💚