Self-care is an essential part of living a happy and healthy life. It's about taking conscious steps to tend to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. But it's important to remember that self-care is an individualized experience, and it should not be confused with maladaptive behaviors. Agnes Wainman explains that self-care is “something that is refueled from us, rather than taken away from us.” It's not a selfish act; it's about knowing what we need to do to take care of ourselves and, later, be able to care for others as well.
At Everyday Health, self-care is about taking steps to meet your physical and emotional health needs to the best of your ability. This can include self-medication and seeking care from doctors or other health professionals when needed. It also involves creating and maintaining connections with those around you (when possible). Vanessa Kennedy, PhD, director of psychology at Driftwood Recovery, emphasizes that true self-care isn't selfish; it's not an excuse to spend an excessive amount of money or go overboard at happy hour to escape.
Eating half a tray of brownies may make you feel better in the moment, but it's not true self-care because after the fact you probably feel worse than you did, not better. It can take real, conscious, and intentional effort to make decisions that truly contribute to your overall well-being, rather than just treating symptoms of stress or daily wear and tear. To get into the routine of practicing regular self-care, experts recommend starting small rather than tackling the most challenging thing first. Incorporating small acts of self-care into your daily life, such as not checking emails after a certain time or getting more sleep, are things that lead to a happier and healthier person.
So, with the voices of all these wise self-care experts in your mind, what decisions will you make to nourish yourself today?.