2020 has been a year of tremendous social and economic hardship across the world. Living amidst a global pandemic has forced us to rethink many aspects of our lives. This time of uncertainty has undoubtedly tested our emotional strength and well-being. That said, it has also presented a unique opportunity for us all to realign, refocus, and reevaluate what it is that we really want and need when it comes to self-care.
Developing a tailored self-care plan, which focuses on the physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and social aspects of your life, can strongly enhance your overall health and well-being, and better equip you to deal with life’s stresses. Take a moment to reflect on how you are doing in the following areas of self-care and where you need to devote more attention.
Listening to—and taking care of—our bodies is an essential component of self-care. Physical health is one of the most important elements we can prioritize, yet it often remains a neglected part of our lives. Focusing on your health is adding a level of intuition to every area of your life. Ways to practice this form of self-care can involve healthy eating, getting a full night’s sleep, and exercising. It’s important to focus on mindful movement that works best for you. Physical self-care is about being intentional in how we take care of our bodies, by listening closely and giving them what they need to thrive.
Emotional self-care is about becoming more in tune with our emotions. Our emotions are the most present, vital and sometimes painful force in our lives. It’s important to check-in with yourself, striving to become more mindful of triggers. By self-reflecting, it assists in finding ways to work through the emotions, rather than suppressing them. When you can’t control what’s happening, it’s important to challenge yourself to control the way you are responding. It is well-known that how we respond to stress affects our overall health. Keep in mind, we all need emotional support from time to time. It’s important to allow yourself to feel a wide range of emotions, including negative ones. Experiencing strong emotions and asking for help to cope doesn’t make you weak — it makes you human. And confronting that vulnerability will ultimately help make you stronger.
When you practice spiritual self-care, you are nourishing your soul. It is not necessarily about finding a connection to a higher power, but more so to deepen the connection with your higher self. Simply being aware of your connection to spirituality can create mindfulness, whether by practicing meditation, yoga, or immersing yourself in nature. It’s the practice of being aware of what is happening in the current moment, without wishing it were different. It’s also the opportunity to do less with more intense focus.
Intellectual self-care focuses on personal growth. This includes engaging in something you enjoy that fully nourishes and challenges your mind. To expand your knowledge, it’s important to continuously focus on the pursuit of learning and education. Engaging in new things, while having a positive mindset, pushes mental boundaries to expand your skillset. Embracing new ideas or learning a new skill can be very rewarding self-care activities. By cultivating intellectual wellness, you have the opportunity to discover untouched hidden potential.
By nature, humans are social beings. It’s important to develop connections and deepen relationships with people in our lives. Social self-care is necessary to remind yourself and others that you and your needs are important. Engage in activities that include others who lift you up, make you feel like your best self, and inspire you to do better. A key component to a healthy relationship is knowing that you can rely on the strong relationships you’ve built to help take care of yourself.
Caring for our body, mind and soul is our greatest responsibility. Simply put, you are your home — take good care of it.