Practicing self-care may be important preventative maintenance – it may help prevent feelings of burnout or fatigue, and may assist in maintaining positive well-being too. We see self-care as an individualized process of tuning in and tending to the needs of your body, mind, and being. This means that self-care may look different from person to person, and your personal self-care may also look different day-by-day. Tuning into your needs may first require giving yourself space to mindfully observe your current emotional state, and tending to your needs may mean finding a practice or habit that personally resonates with you. As with many things, there may not be a “one-sized fits all” self-care approach. By sharing different facets of self-care with you, we hope to encourage exploration and experimentation to help each of you find your own approach. Below is a compilation of self-care posts shared between March 30-May 18 2020 as an 8-part series on our social media channels. The graphics were created by a Conestoga College placement student, Tripat Ranjan Kaur .
“It’s important to have healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, like anger, anxiety, and sadness. Emotional self-care may include activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings on a regular basis.” (Source: 5 Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life (verywellmind.com))
How do YOU practice emotional self-care? What strategies do you use to process your emotions?
“Self-care is different (than self-improvement) because it’s about allowing yourself to have a nurturing experience of life right now as opposed to when you work harder in the future”. (Source: What Is Self-Care? (healthline.com))
As Brene Brown says in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection” when speaking about wholeheartedness: “Worthy now, not if, not when, we’re worthy of love and belonging now”.
What do you do to love and nurture yourself now, just as you are?
In a 2014 report by our local Region of Waterloo Public Health titled “Shifting Gears: The need to address healthy eating, physical activity and mental health together”, data are shared showing levels of physical activity and healthy eating in the region were not adequate to support good health for the majority of the population. Additionally, the report emphasizes the interconnectedness of physical health (including healthy eating, physical activity, and sleep) and mental health.
What aspects of physical health care do you prioritize – and which may get neglected? What aspect of physical self-care will you aim to focus more on this week?
Jacqueline Nesi, a technology and social connection researcher at the University of North Carolina states that “The amount of social connection a person needs to feel fulfilled may vary across individuals, but in general, it’s important that we feel listened to and validated. It’s also important to have reciprocal relationships that we can turn to when we need emotional or instrumental support”. (Source: https://www.campuswell.com/social-support-for-self-care/)
Social self-care involves finding a balance between socially connecting and receiving support in a mindful way and setting healthy boundaries around socializing when necessary. These boundaries can include saying ‘no’ to others, limiting contact with ‘toxic’ people in your life, or reducing exposure to the more harmful sides of social media.
How can you gauge what amount of social connection you require to feel fulfilled? How are you ensuring your social connection needs are met while also respecting your boundaries?
The Harvard Business Review wrote an article listing 6 ways to weave self-care into your workday, emphasizing that “Rather than having self-care be something ‘outside’ of work, it’s important to weave it naturally into the course of your workday. By incorporating self-care in our day-to-day work lives — and coming back to it in times of stress — we can all become our most constructive, effective, and authentic selves.” (Source: https://hbr.org/2017/06/6-ways-to-weave-self-care-into-your-workday)
How can you weave self-care into the structure of your work-day?
Financial self-care begins with being mindfully aware of one’s financial situation. An article in Psychology Today cites research finding that “financial self- awareness is crucial and without knowing one’s financial situation well on an ongoing basis, it is hard to make sound financial decisions and feel financially secure.” (source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201910/four-powerful-benefits-financial-self-awareness)
If you’re experiencing financial hardships, here are some places sharing helpful financial resources:
CMHA WW’s Here4Hope website includes financial resources: Here 4 Help – Housing, Access to Food and Financial Support
The Food Bank of Waterloo Region list of vital food assistance services: Need Food – The Food Bank of Waterloo Region
The Region of Waterloo and its partners offer a range of financial assistance: Living Here-Financial Assistance – Region of Waterloo
Spatial Self-care includes feelings of safety, security, stability, and comfort in your living space to create a healthy living environment.
What space do you most feel this sense of special self-care in? Depending on your situation, some aspects of your living environment may be outside of your control. What actions may be within your control to increase spatial self-care?
Many of the types of self-care we’ve talked about so far may involve taking actions towards physical or mental health. Spiritual self-care may be a moderator of the effectiveness of self-care – it involves introspection to understand yourself, your emotions, your needs, and what self-care practices best ‘fit’ for you.
Bringing mindfulness to a practice – being in the moment and noticing the affects your actions are having on your physical and emotional space – can be what turns a regular action such as taking a walk into a self-care practice.
Spirituality can be thought of as a connection to something outside yourself, as well as a connection within yourself. Some people find spirituality through religion, some through nature, some through introspective practices such as journaling or meditation.
What activities help you to feel connected to yourself and aware of your emotions and needs, and how could you take steps to increase this connection in other activities you do?