This post is inspired by a quote from Andrew Huberman in this recent podcast episode with Chris Voss. Towards the end of the episode, Dr. Hubermn states that “True self-care is about being more ready to do better for the world”. As there often seems to be much consternation surrounding self-care, I thought it would be an interesting topic to cover.
Personally, I recognise that self-care covers a range of activities, both pleasurable and necessary – sometimes both, but often one or the other. I make no particular distinction, nor do I give greater importance or kudos for carrying out one type of self-care over another. All are equally important, and all can be equally difficult.
With that said, let’s get on to today’s post…
Self-care is the practice of taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. It involves doing things that make you feel good and help you to function at your best.
There are many different ways to practice self-care. Some common examples include:
- Eating healthy foods
- Getting regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Managing stress
- Spending time with loved ones
- Doing activities that you enjoy
- Taking breaks when you need them
- Setting boundaries
Self-care is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people who are under a lot of stress or who have chronic health conditions. Self-care can help you to cope with stress, manage your symptoms, and improve your overall quality of life.
Why is self-care important?
Self-care is important for a number of reasons:
- It helps to improve your physical health: eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are all essential for boosting your energy levels, reducing your risk of lifestyle and chronic diseases, and maintaining a healthy weight for your body
- It helps to improve your mental and emotional health: managing stress, spending time with loved ones, and doing activities that you enjoy can help to reduce anxiety & depression, improve your mood, and boost your self-esteem
- It can help you to be more productive & successful in all areas of your life: when you’re taking care of yourself, you’re better able to focus, concentrate, and make sound decisions; you’re also more likely to have the energy and motivation to do things you enjoy, and achieve your goals
When you’re taking care of yourself, you’re more likely to be role model for others and inspire them to take care of themselves as well.
True self-care is about being more ready to do better for the world
When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of others; and we’re more able to make a positive impact on the world around us. When we are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, we are more likely to be kind, patient, compassionate, and understanding with others. We’re also more likely to stand up for what we believe in, help & support others, and fight for justice.
True self-care is about more than just getting a massage or taking a bubble bath. It’s about making choices that support our overall well-being and allow us to be our best selves. It’s about being more present and engaged in our lives; and it’s about being more open and loving towards ourselves and others.
What are some examples of self-care?
There are many different types of self-care activities, and what works for one person may not work for another. Here are a few examples:
- Physical self-care: eating healthy foods; getting enough sleep; exercising regularly; and seeing a doctor for checkups & screenings
- Mental self-care: practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga; spending time with loved ones; doing things you enjoy; and seeking professional help if needed
- Emotional self-care: setting boundaries, saying no, and expressing your feelings in a healthy way
How to start a self-care practice
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips:
- Identify your needs – what are the areas of your life where you’d like to put more care and attention?
- Set realistic goals – start with small, achievable goals that you can build on over time. Perhaps start with a ten minute workout, three times a week; meal plan one week every month; or try to hit your step or sleep goal ten days out of the next 30
- Make self-care a priority – schedule time for self-care activities just like you would any other important appointment. You’re more likely to stick to it if you put it in your plan for the day, rather than putting it off for “later”, all day long
- Be flexible – there will be days when you need to adjust your self-care routine based on your needs. That’s okay – as long as you re-schedule your plans or put it on your to do list for another day, being flexible is also a form of self-care
When we practice true self-care, we are not only helping ourselves, but we are also helping to make the world a better place. So, if you’re looking for ways to do better for the world, start by taking care of yourself. Self-care is not selfish, it’s essential.
Do you already have a self-care practice? Or would you like to add some self-care to your life? Perhaps you want to increase your self-care, or you’re ready to do something that you’ve been putting off for a while? Let me know in the comments below!