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Looking After Yourself: Strategies for Self Care

“Self care”: this concept is everywhere lately. But what exactly does self care mean? How can you be sure you’re taking care of yourself? And why is self care important?

 

When many people think about self care, they think of bubble baths and pedicures. In reality, self-care is about so much more than that. It's about looking after yourself and making sure that your different needs, whether physical, emotional, social, or even financial needs, are met. 

Because humans are complex, self-care can look differently for each person. With the support of one of our experienced psychologists, we can help build a tailored self-care plan that works for you.

What is Self Care and why is it important?

The official definition, by the World Health Organization, of self care is “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider”.

 

In other words, it’s anything you do to take care of yourself and your own well-being 一 whether that’s physically, emotionally, or spiritually. That means practicing self care can look like anything from taking prescribed medication when you need it to seeing your friends to practicing meditation.

Self Care Image designed by Reimagine Psychology Melbourne

Can bubble baths and pedicures be part of self care sometimes? Absolutely. But self care encompasses so much more than pampering yourself. It’s about being mindful of your needs, and making sure that you do what it takes to get them met.

In today’s “hustle culture,” taking time to simply take care of yourself may seem counterintuitive and even frivolous or self-indulgent. But self care is just about looking after yourself, sometimes in the most basic of ways 一 like staying hydrated and remembering to eat real meals. Practicing self care is critical for your health and wellbeing, and not doing so can result in serious consequences.

Some of the most important benefits of self care include:

 

  • Better physical health (because you’re taking care of your physical needs)

  • More emotional resilience

  • Lower levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout

  • Improved quality of life

  • Supporting your mental health recovery

  • Better management of health conditions

 

Each of us is wonderfully unique, so that means that each of our self care activities may look differently. There are certain things, though, that all humans have in common: the need for sleep, for example.

Self care is about doing things that actually nourish your physical and mental health. That means that self care activities might look more “boring” on the surface than you expected. Bingeing reality television while eating ice cream might feel good in the moment. “Retail therapy” might sound exciting and fun. And maybe, in some instances, that is really what you need to take care of your emotional health.

But often, self care doesn’t sound fun. It doesn’t sound exciting. It may not even sound relaxing. But when we’re really honest with ourselves, we know that it’s in our best interest to practice these activities.

 

At Reimagine Psychology Melbourne, we find that, in general, there are five different types of self care areas we support clients with. Here, we’ll give you some common examples of self care activities for each category.

Tips for Self Care: Examples of Activities

Reimagine Physical Self Care

 

Physical Self Care

  • Eat a healthy diet and getting regular exercise

  • Get outside for daily dose of Vitamin D

  • Go to the doctor when you’re sick

  • Prioritize getting enough sleep every night

  • Cut back on cigarettes, alcohol, or caffeine

 

Emotional Self Care

  • Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend

  • Practice mindfulness or a relaxation activity

  • Write in your journal

  • Feel your feelings or talk to a psychologist

  • Look at positive news sources

Reimagine Emotional Self Care
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Cognitive (Mental) Self Care

  • Read a book or listen to an audio book

  • Make progress on your favourite game

  • Use an app to learn a new language

  • Take on a new challenge at work

  • Submit that assignment

 

Spiritual Self Care

  • Practice meditation or prayer

  • Go to your place of worship

  • Connect with nature

  • Look at the stars and wonder what’s out there

  • Talk with a spiritual leader and ask questions

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Social Self Care

  • Set up a regular time to connect with friends

  • Text or write a letter to a friend or family member

  • Volunteer your time for a cause you believe in

  • Join a local club or meet up group

 

 

How a Psychologist Can Help You Build and Stick to a Self Care Plan

The best thing about self care is that it’s something you can do on your own without professional support. While that may be true, it's also very normal to sometimes struggle with prioritizing self care in our daily lives. There are so many things that can get in the way of a solid self care routine, including:
 

  • Limited time

  • Feeling guilty about taking care of your own needs first

  • Depression and anxiety draining you of energy and motivation

  • Logistical and financial barriers

Seeking Support - Designed by Reimagine Psychology Melbourne

Our team of down-to-earth, experienced psychologists can help you work through these barriers and get some self care into your life. We’ll take it one step at a time; we know that it’s hard to make a bunch of  huge changes in your life all at once and sometimes things are easier said that done. 

Our team will be there in your corner and support you every step of the way. And we’ll remind you that you’re worth it, and you deserve to look after yourself, even when you forget.

Schedule an Appointment in Melbourne or Online

 

Everyone deserves to practice self care. If you’re not looking after yourself as much as you’d like to, things can change. Our team of down-to-earth psychologists can help you build a self care plan that works for you.

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our experienced Psychologists, call the team at Reimagine Psychology Melbourne on (03) 8330 5588 or email us on hello@reimaginepsychology.melbourne.

Austin Chu | Designed by Reimagine Psychology Melbourne