A crucial ingredient to happiness is Self-care
Self-care a necessity, not a luxury.
Whilst going to yoga class, having massages or exercising is a form of self-care and works for lots of people. If you don’t have the time, money, or energy to do these things does not mean you are incapable of self-care. It is a necessity, not a luxury. To maintain a happy and balanced life, you need to exercise simple self-care habits to enrich your life.
Self-care comes in many different forms, whatever is best suited for that person. But sometimes it is a lot simpler than you think.
Self-care includes self-talk.
Self-talk is an absolute necessity and can do a lot to shape our mood, stress levels and whether we feel overwhelmed or in control. This critical component of self-care can be overlooked. In fact, no self-caring behaviours will be effective if you are in the habit of stressing yourself out repeatedly in your mind. It’s no good getting a massage or taking a yoga class if the whole experience consists of you worrying about everything else.
Pay close attention and start chipping away at your own unique habits of unhelpful thinking. Every time you find yourself unnecessarily stressing about something, review your feelings, try to come to the root of the problem and worry less about things you cannot change.
There are many methods to finding the best outcome when processing your emotions, and it will vary between individuals. Some common ideas that work for many people are drawing, journaling, talking aloud to a friend or a therapist, prayer or spiritual practice, taking part in a sport, listening to music or sometimes having a good cry. Not everything works for everyone, but it is always worth investigating a couple of ideas and trying them out.
After having a go at some of these methods, ask yourself, “Have I found a somewhat better perspective and successfully accessed my own thoughts and feelings”. Try to determine if you feel a sense of relief after participating in the activity. If the answer is yes, you may have found a way to help with your thoughts and feelings.
Are distractions helpful?
It is very common for people to distract themselves from their stressors. For example, binge-watching a series, going to a movie or reading a book. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities, and on occasions, many find it useful. When emotions are running high, or you are completely emotionally drained and exhausted, the effort it might take to engage in more active pursuits or attempt to emotionally process what you are going through may prove to be too much. At times like these, distractions come in useful.
On the other hand, problems can arise if the only self-care activities you engage in are distractions. Balance is essential and as said earlier, recognising your emotions are a vital part of self-care. Blocking out all your stresses for short periods of time may, as a result, cause them to seem bigger.
If this goes on for too long, you may find that you have a backlog of unprocessed thoughts and feelings which can cause your stress or burnout to worsen instead of improving.
So, in conclusion, distractions can be helpful, but not long term, and if they are the only self-care activity you entertain.
Mental and Physical self-care.
Both your mental health and physical health are important and crucial for self-care. You must maintain a healthy balance between the two.
To best balance your mental health, self-talk is most effective. Self-care requires time to think your way through your situation, feelings and worries and feel the emotions that come with them. Remember that self-care means paying attention to your feelings and needs and giving care and attention to them.
It is also important not to overlook the simple daily routines that help maintain your physical health. You can interpret self-care into your daily routines to get the absolute most from your days. For example, you must eat routinely anyway, what if you chose food that really nourishes you. Or when you sleep, perhaps change your bedtime slightly. Little things like these can turn your daily routines into opportunities for self-care.
Remember that self-care is an ingredient to a happier life and engaging in self-care is a way of signalling to ourselves that we matter in our own lives. We are important and worthy of the care. You do not need a lot of money, time or interesting new activities to improve your self-care. You just need to make sure you look after yourself.
Written by Lois Kennedy
Dandelion Therapy Services News editor.