By: Maymosa Jinang
In a viral video posted on many social media sites last month, we were challenged to define what is considered “essential.” To where do we draw the line of what is essential or not? In what circumstances? This dilemma is also true when it comes to the idea of self-care. For some people, it is a matter of life and death. For others, it’s just an indulgence.
According to Beauchamp & Childress (2001), self-care is a deliberate act of giving sufficient attention to one's own physical and psychological wellness. According to Elizabeth Scott, a wellness coach and author, there are five types of self-care: physical, social, mental, spiritual, and emotional. These are common or ritual activities that we do every day to achieve a healthier and satisfying life. The elements of self-care are different from person to person. What is considered a self-care activity for one person may not be the case for others. Tonya Dalton, a productivity coach & strategist, explained that it is the idea of nourishing yourself, on every level, where encouraging creativity can promote that feeling of well-being.
Usually, we only prioritize our physical health. However, our emotional, mental, social, and spiritual needs are entirely and equally significant. In his study, Dr. Pinit Ratanakul noted that this perspective is also reflected in Buddhism’s holistic health. The focus is on the whole person because human beings are not merely physical creatures but also mental, emotional, social, and spiritual beings. Because of this, we must have a continued oversight of all domains of our life. Below are some of the self-care tips that may improve our well-being.
Physical self-care. These are the things you do to keep your physical body healthy. This may include getting a good quality of sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthy balanced food, drinking plenty of water, avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs, getting enough sunlight, and having regular check-ups and doctor appointments. Establishing positive physical health habits ensures your body works properly, decreases chances of getting sick, lowers stress levels, and guarantees an energy boost to get you through the day.
Emotional self-care. Improving your emotional wellness is possible by learning how to recognize, process, and channel your own emotions. Some healthy activities that can help you process and reflect your feelings is to create “a daily quote in a jar” for inspirational and motivational quotes, keeping a daily journal, and positive self-talk. Jen Sincero, a life coach and author, cited that how you view yourself and the language you use when talking to yourself is very important. Patting yourself on the back, telling yourself “good job,” and celebrating little victories will go a long way for you.
Mental self-care. Just like your body, the quality of your thoughts or the things you do with your mind matters. Some of the goals of mental self-care habits are to reduce stress by putting things in order, easing your mind of worries, and stimulating your intellect. Organizing and planning your tasks for the day will help you manage your time efficiently. And while you’re doing that, it is also recommended by researchers to take short breaks after several hours of focused work. Both Korpela et al. (2016) and Geurts et al. (2019) found that taking short and lunch breaks prevents stress, builds energy at work, and lessens exhaustion. Decluttering and creating a functional workspace system can also be beneficial because it makes a conducive, safe, and healthier working space. Enjoying a hobby or a leisure activity improves well-being by creating a positive mood while learning a new skill provides you a sense of achievement.
Social self-care. As a social being, the quality of interpersonal relationships you have is essential. We make efforts to connect and improve our relationships with our family, friends, and loved ones. Some of these activities are having quality time with family members, going out with friends, or going on a date. Depending on one’s social needs, you should allocate a certain amount of time to be with your friends and acquaintances for a healthier social life.
Spiritual self-care. Studies found that people who are generally religious or spiritual have positive mental health and wellbeing. Spirituality is the sense of connection with a higher power, a sense of meaning or purpose, and contact with the universe (Lim & Putnam, 2010; Scott, 2020). According to Vishkin et al. (2016, 2019) and Ramsay et al. (2019), people who live spiritual lives have a more positive appraisal of their lives. McCullough et al. (2000) added that spiritual people live longer lives, have more satisfying and meaningful lives, and have lower rates of depression. Spiritual activities may include meditation, breathing techniques, walking, or strolling around nature, relaxing, and praying.
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