Discussing self-care and why it is important for improving your overall well-being.
February is normally a month filled with celebrating the love between partners, but what about you? Loving and taking care of yourself is equally, if not more, important as taking care of others. Most people will tell you to practice self-care through meditation, going to the gym and treating yourself. While these are all good suggestions, the fact of the matter is these stress relieving activities won’t do you any good if you’re not taking care of your basic needs first.
WHAT IS SELF-CARE?
To understand what it truly means to take care of ourselves, we must first look at what the word “self-care” actually means. According to an article published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, self-care has been defined as, "a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being." It is considered a vital step in building your resilience against stressors that come into your life. Unfortunately, the term “self-care” has become synonymous with luxury versus priority and overtime, people who put it off experience overwhelming stress, exhaustion and anxiety.
So, the question then becomes, what do we do to take care of ourselves?
TYPES OF SELF-CARE
Activities for self-care can be broken down into 5 categories: physical, social, mental, spiritual and emotional.
Physical Care. This is how you take care of your body. Keep in mind there is a strong connection between your body and your mind. To help maintain your physical well-being it is important to fuel your body with the right nutrients, get enough sleep, move your body and maintain your healthcare needs.
Social Care. By design, humans are pack animals, we long for human connection. Socialization is crucial in maintaining your mental well-being. Make sure you are making time to connect with your loved ones and friends. Understanding that schedules get busy, try scheduling intentional time to connect with others using your calendar.
Mental Care. Your attitude determines your mood, but not only that, what you choose fill your mind with greatly impacts your mental wellness. To care for your mind involves doing this like being creative, doing puzzle, reading a book and anything else that can help sharpen your mind. Additionally, mental well-being has a lot to do with how you talk about yourself. Practice self-compassion, acceptance, and grace.
Spiritual Care. Research has shown that people who practice some form of spirituality or religion typically have healthier lifestyles. This type of self-care is all about connecting back to the source, finding your center and being grounded in your beliefs. Through consistent practice in spirituality, you will find it easier to connect back to your center and find peace no matter what goes on around you.
Emotional Care. Being able to deal with your emotions whether it be anger, fear or sadness is an important factor in self-care. Taking care of your emotional needs includes activities that help you acknowledge and express your feelings on a regular basis. Activities like talking to a close friend, partner or therapist about your feelings will help you flex your emotional muscles and help you process your emotions better.
Although these types of self-care regiments are helpful, it is important to remember that developing a self-care routine is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Your self-care should be customized to fit your needs. A good way to start improving these areas of your life would be to take an inventory of these self-care categories in your life. Do you feel any of these areas are lacking or could be stronger? Try focusing on these areas and see how they improve. I’d recommend keeping a journal to help record the changes in these areas of your life. Remember, the journey to health and wellness it just that, a journey.
At North Bay Spine and Rehab, we treat patients through chiropractic adjustments, nutrition counselling, and physical exercise. Dr. Bowser takes a holistic approach in treating spine and joint injuries. He is a proponent of treating patients by natural, conservative means and believes in being proactive as opposed to reactive when it comes to a patient’s well-being. Applying both his skillsets and passion for patient care, it’s his primary mission to ensure his patients succeed in all areas of health and wellness.