Before coming to college, I had never even heard the term self-care. In fact, I pushed myself so hard in high school that I never really gave myself time to rest and rejuvenate. Now that I have spent my fair share of time learning how to practice self-care I want to share the ins and outs and what you can do to both maintain and practice it.
What Is Self-Care?
In my eyes and in a very general sense, self-care is any act that you take to show yourself love, kindness & respect.
Other people put it differently, but the idea is usually the same:
“Basically, self-care is any activity that you do voluntarily which helps you maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. It can help you feel healthy, relaxed and ready to take on your work and responsibilities.” –AU Reach Out
“The term self-care describes the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health.” –Good Therapy
Why Is Self-Care Important?
Self-care is important because it means celebrating and taking care of the most important person in your life–yourself!! It is also beneficial for your overall happiness, stress levels and health. As someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, I have found that self-care dramatically reduces my anxiety levels as well. The best part is self-care is fun and enjoyable–there is no reason not to practice it!
How Do I Practice Self-Care?
The beauty of self-care is that it is different for everyone! I have personally found which self-care activities work well for me which I will share below. It takes practice finding something you enjoy doing and activities that refresh and recharge you. Experiment and try new things, you never know what you may find that does the trick.
My favorite self-care activities:
- Taking photographs. I absolutely love exploring a new place, whether it is a nature trail or a neighborhood in a city I have never visited, with my camera. Slowing down to take photos of whatever I want allows me to really be present in the moment and focus on the world around me.
- Exercising. I am going to be 100% honest and tell you that most days I do not want to work out. However, when I do, I love how it makes my body feel. After, I feel powerful and strong and I am so glad I did it!
- Taking baths. This one is a bit more challenging because I have not had a bath tub in such a long time! However, I love taking a warm bath (with bubbles of course) and relaxing.
- Lay in bed. There are some nights when all I truly want is to lay in bed and relax and I let myself do it! I will watch funny YouTube videos that make me laugh which helps me unwind and destress.
- Craft. I absolutely love making crafts and it is one of my favorite self-care activities. In case you need some good inspiration, check out this lovely flower crown tutorial from Sara Laughed.
Like I said, what works for me may not work for you! Take time to figure out your favorite activity.
Here are links to a lot of great self-care resources in case you want to learn more:
- List of 80+ Self-Care Ideas from The Self-Compassion Project
- More self-care explanation from UKY
- Self-care starter kit from University of Buffalo
What are your favorite self-care activities? Comment them below!