Self Care Is...
Self care is self love.
These two terms are interchangeable, you can't have one without the other. Self care is unique to each individual. An introvert may need to have alone time to recharge themselves mentally, physically and emotionally. An extrovert may need to be around people because social interaction regenerates them. The Oxford dictionary defines self care as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health. It is also the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness.
Self care is a muscle that needs to be conditioned and strengthened through exercise. Selfless individuals struggle to exercise the muscle of self care. Often experiencing a sense of guilt for simply taking care of themselves. My message to the selfless is, you can't pour from an empty cup. If you are at a deficit, you can't truly help anyone else.
Most people associate beauty rituals with self care. Although beauty rituals are a form of self care, in its true essence, self care is inner work. Sleep dysfunction, neck and shoulder pain, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), tension headaches, high blood sugar, Alzheimer's disease, common cold, obesity and depression are just SOME of the illnesses directly correlated to stress. Stress is directly correlated to a lack of self care.
In western culture, we underestimate the effects that the oblivion to self has on us. Most of us have been conditioned NOT to show emotions. Displaying happiness or contentment are socially acceptable but the simple acknowledgment of anger or frustration is seen as "disrespectful" in many cultures. The thing that most people misunderstand with this form of social conditioning is, you teach people to suppress emotions. The suppression of emotions can often lead to depression or addiction.
Expressing one's emotions is self care. Setting healthy boundaries is self care.
The Mental Health and First Aid article titled How and Why to Practice Self Care states that "in a national survey, Americans cited benefits of self-care as: enhanced self-confidence (64%), increased productivity (67%), happiness (71%). From a physical health perspective, self-care also reduces heart disease, stroke and cancer." Self care can also lead to more fulfilling relationships.
Suggestion list of Self Care
Learn to identify and control your emotions.
Setting healthy boundaries.
Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday.
Take a Mindful Minute
Do something you like
Spend time with loved ones