Tips for Self Care
Want to know how to increase self-care? Try these science-based strategies.
Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be and feel healthy, you can be well, you can properly do your job, you can support and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to do in a day.
‘Self-care has been defined as the process of taking care of oneself with behaviors that promote health and active management of illness when it occurs. Individuals engage in some form of self-care daily with food choices, exercise, sleep, and dental care. While the concept of self-care has received increased attention in recent years, it has ancient origins. Socrates has been credited with founding the self-care movement in ancient Greece, and care are of oneself and loved ones has been shown to exist since human beings appeared on earth. Self-care remains a primary form of healthcare worldwide.’ - Wikipedia
Positive feelings towards the self are also thought to be a crucial aspect of well-being. Unfortunately, we often forget that how we treat/speak ourselves is very much a part of taking care of wellness and self-care plan. For example, self-esteem contributes to positive feelings and more initiative (Crocker, & Knight, 2005). Luckily, there are several ways to boost self-care while being kinder to ourselves.
Self-care goes beyond a good night’s sleep, a steamy bubble bath and a hot cup of tea. Although those are very important, we need to keep our thoughts, feelings, and self-talk in check.
Here are some self-care tips that we may not naturally consider:
1. Be kind to yourself.
When we judge and criticize ourselves, we can end up feeling even worse about ourselves. We're being bullies. That's why when trying to develop self-care, it's important to be nice to ourselves. We could start by writing ourselves a self-compassionate letter—a letter where we talk to ourselves gently and tell ourselves all the nice things we want to hear.
2. Own your power.
If we feel like we have little control or power over our lives, we can start to feel helpless and hopeless. Even though we don't have control over everything, if we look, we can find ways to own our own power. For example, we might take responsibility for keeping our room clean or our bed made. We might decide to practice random acts of kindness. Or we might start working towards building a new skill that will help us get a better job. We are not entirely powerless, and we show ourselves self-care by taking back control of our lives.
3. Try self-care meditation.
Guided self-care meditation may help us work on the parts of our minds that can be destructive or self-loathing. Basically, we take time to sit quietly and think positive thoughts about ourselves and remind ourselves that we are indeed worthy of our own love.
4. Try to undo negative self-talk.
When we have negative thoughts about ourselves, we often believe these thoughts. We might get down on ourselves for something we said or did. By questioning this negative self-talk, we can start to pick apart its logic and discover that many of the negative things we think about ourselves are not true. They are just opinions, and we don't need to hold these opinions anymore.
5. Give love to others.
Maybe we aren't feeling enough self-care because we just aren't putting enough love out into the world. If we practice loving others, it may help us improve our "love skills" and have an easier time showing love to ourselves too.
6. Forgive yourself.
Research shows that forgiveness can help us reverse stress and anger (Harris, et al., 2006). So, if you're withholding love for yourself because you feel guilty for doing something bad in the past, try to move past it, forgive yourself, and let go. Holding onto self-directed anger does no one any good, so see if you can find a way to call it even with yourself.
7. Try self-care journaling.
Daily journaling can be a great way to better understand and work through feelings we have about ourselves. So, consider starting a self-care journal. In this journal, write 3 good things you like about yourself each day. This can be a reminder that can help you shift your thoughts in ways that improve how you feel about yourself.
Hygge & Self-care
In many ways, hygge is about self-care, and some of its most important benefits to your health is that it can help you to reduce stress, increase your feelings of happiness, and can help you feel more satisfied where you are in your life right now. Below is a link with several great tips and ideas to practice self-care with a little extra dose of hygge mixed in.
Crocker, J., & Knight, K. M. (2005). Contingencies of self-worth. Current directions in psychological science, 14(4), 200-203.
Harris, A. H., Luskin, F. M., Benisovich, S. V., Standard, S., Bruning, J., Evans, S., and Thoresen, C. (2006). Effects of a group forgiveness intervention on forgiveness, perceived stress and trait anger: A randomized trial. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 62(6), 715-733.