Reframing Your Mindset About Self Care

Self care needs to be prioritized immediately. The benefits and what it can do to change your life in a positive direction are too immense to ignore.

Self-care has been misconstrued over recent years. It began as an idea to complete medical treatments on oneself to reduce the amount of work for healthcare professionals. So, to recognize symptoms and act accordingly when feeling sick. With this in mind, it allowed for individuals to stay in touch with their own bodies and to treat themselves when possible. 

practicing self care
Image Source: California Coalition for Youth

Now, the idea of self-care transitioned into taking care of oneself for mental wellness and happiness. This new definition reflects how people have become more knowledgeable and interested in their own minds. Showing us all how important it is to keep a healthy mental state.

The definition of self-care is the act of taking care of oneself for one's own physical and mental well-being. 

Even though the definition has changed over the years the concept is the same. Taking care of oneself is just as important now as it was in the past, maybe even more important today. 

The Stigma of Self Care

Even though self-care is structured to be a way to take care of oneself, a stigma is attached to it. The mentality of enduring to succeed, always being productive, and work with no rest, kills the idea of self-care. As important as it is to realize that hard work pays off, too much work can do even worse for someone. 

Overworking oneself leads to less productivity. In a world that doesn't stop, it is expected to always be on call. Never having the time or opportunity to rest has been proven to increase anxiety, cause depression and even become sick. That is where self-care comes into play.

 It is not, and should not be considered, weak to need a break every once in a while. Can an empty glass quench one's thirst? The same applies to a person. Once exhausted, a person dramatically decreases productivity. By helping yourself, you can give more on a daily basis. 

The Guilt Attached to Self Care

Not working or being productive puts stress on our minds and causes guilt. But why is that?

The idea of self-care is seen as selfish. When a person is helping themselves, they can't help anyone else. That statement by itself is true, only if the selfishness of that sentence is taken away. Remember the saying, "Secure your own first before helping others." We have all heard that countless times. On an airplane, if a situation arises where excess oxygen is needed, we are told to secure our own masks before helping anyone else. 

We have been told that over and still don't understand it. What would happen if you secured someone else's mask before your own? You might not get a chance to find out. Apply this concept to yourself and tend to your own needs before others. What this does is allow someone to better treat and take care of someone else because they are now feeling better themselves. 

Don't think of self-care as selfish and don't be guilty of tending to your needs. In the end, it benefits everyone.

Revise What Self Care Means to You

We as a society need to understand that our bodies are important. Without them functioning correctly even the trivial tasks become colossal. What needs to change?

The idea of self-care can be cumbersome. Taking time out of every day to relax, reflect, or just take a break may seem like an impossible task. That creates a sense of hesitation, which then becomes the opposite of what self-care attempts to do. Self-care is not forceful in nature and only tries to help, so accepting that idea is the first step.

Start slow. The pace of everyday life is as fast as ever, so asking you to take time out of every day is too much. The solution, listen to your body. If you can work nonstop all week before getting exhausted, more power to you, but once that exhaustion hits tend to yourself. 

Additionally, self-care can be anything. Anything that refreshes your body and mind, but be careful because when I say anything I don't mean activities that could lead to feeling worse in the future. Things like drinking and smoking and coping mechanisms for a lot of people, but be cautious when using that as your coping mechanism because they help at the moment. Although having a drink after a long day is completely fine, I do this myself. 

Why Practice Self Care Now

Now more than ever self-care needs to be implemented into routines. With the presence of COVID mental distress was at a high. As a result, people began showing signs of anxiety and depression. 

Self-care is a method designed to take care of oneself physically and mentally. As I mentioned above, it is an actual device that people used in the past to self-treat themselves by evaluating their symptoms and health conditions. This is important and can help.

By knowing what you need on a daily or weekly basis, the stress of life can lessen and the burden of pressure will decrease simply by tending to your needs. Prioritizing oneself can not be overstated.

Speaking from experience, I did not always practice self-care. Actually, I didn't even care enough to try. I lacked plenty of things, but the biggest was self-confidence and love for myself. I thought of myself as a burden and treated myself accordingly. I didn't think I was enough and because of that I simply went through the motions. 

A lot of things contributed to who I am now, but one of the biggest was to practice self-care. I started listening to myself and taking care of my needs appropriately. Yet, the largest change occurred when I began to shift the way I thought about myself.

Becoming Your Own Best Friend

The most vital idea of self-care is how you talk and think to yourself. As important as taking care of your external exhaustion and physical health is, everything begins with the mind. 

The idea of karma is that the actions of the individual come back to that person. Think of it as cause and effect. If someone does a good deed will happen to them. The same principle applies to thoughts.

If a person thinks negatively they act negatively. That cycle can drown a person into negative thoughts and emotions. How one thinks and thinks about themselves is a very effective way to use self-care.

For example, If you constantly bring yourself down by saying things similar to, "Why would you do that?' or "What were you thinking?" it creates a negative emotion in your mind. Self-care begins and ends with you. Begin with talking to yourself as a best friend by supporting yourself. Change those thoughts to, "Here's how I could do better next time." or "What could I do differently in the future?" 

That transition will allow you to feel better internally. What that does is focus our minds on something that is not negative. Basically reframing our way of thinking. 

What Research Says About Self Care

According to an article, "Self-Care in Health," it was found that self-care increases the well-being of a person. It can reduce the amount a person has to rely on professional care and can overall lead to a healthier life.

How Can One Implement Self Care Into a Routine?

Star slow! I can't stress this enough. Don't pressure yourself to practice self-care. Once it becomes an obligation it is not self-care anymore. It is one more chore to tack onto the ever-growing list of things to do. 

It doesn't have to be every day. Again start with something manageable and set reasonable goals for yourself. Most of the time in the beginning everyone is all gung ho about how they will take care of themselves for large amounts of time every day, but that becomes cumbersome very quickly. Then goals aren't met and it is back to the old routine. I want you to start tending to your needs and to do that to make self-care exciting.

In the beginning, find something you like to do. Whether it's playing sports, taking a bath, going for a walk, it doesn't matter. Make it something you want to do. That is the most important thing. Self-care by itself may seem appealing, but actually putting it into practice can be boring and overall just not fun. So, it is your job to make it fun by doing something that you enjoy and prioritizing that activity.

Start with one day a week. Whether it's the middle of the week, beginning, end, or somewhere in between. Take one day to do that one activity you have been wanting to do. Drag a friend to join you or even better do it alone and face it by yourself. 

Starting with one day a week makes self-care manageable and becomes something to look forward to. Isn't it easier to work through a tough day knowing how exciting the night is going to be? It is because all of the hard work pays off in that moment of fun. Make self-care like that and it quickly doesn't even feel like self-care. Just a normal part of the routine.

After a while add something else. A quick walk alone, meditation, reading outside, and slowly but surely self-care will become a regular part of your routine.

For me it's sports. I learned quickly that if I don't sweat out some of my excess energy by playing sports I get very antsy and can't focus as well as I want to. So, once a week I either play basketball by myself for a couple of hours or play volleyball with some locals I met. Having that one day a week makes my life more manageable and fun. 

Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself. It is a way to keep your body and mind healthy. 

The fast pace of daily life is catching up to all of us. It is our job to allow ourselves to thrive in this environment. To be able to do that prioritizing ourselves is of the utmost importance.

Hello everyone! My name is Ethan Oilar and I love to write. If you happen to read my articles and enjoy them I would love to hear about it!

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