The term ‘self-care’ gets thrown around a lot lately, and its meaning has become a little fuzzy. It's become a buzzword, synonymous with taking luxurious bubble baths and getting your nails done. In reality, there is no one-size-fits-all self-care activity, and it will look different for everyone.
hat rituals do you have in place to take responsibility for your wellbeing? When we put ourselves first, we can show up at our best, and everyone around us benefits too. Other’s will notice when you’re taking care of yourself, and chances are they’ll feel inspired to do the same.
Self-care is not just an external activity; it’s just as importantly, the internal intention. So how do we reclaim and redefine this essential part of our health and happiness?
Decide what self-care is NOT
With this term so overused on social media and marketing, the easiest way to reclaim and redefine self-care is to first talk about what it isn’t. Self-care is not:
- A chore. If it’s something you don’t enjoy and you have to force yourself to do it, then it isn’t self-care.
- A drain on your energy. It’s something we do to refuel. Our self-care practices should give us energy, rather than take it away.
- A selfish act. When we take care of ourselves first, we can help others too. Not taking care of ourselves leaves us unable to be fully present for our loved ones.
- Over-indulgence in guilty pleasures. Self-care is the key to living a balanced, happy and healthy life. It’s not about going to any extremes, so ‘treating yourself’ doesn’t mean eating junk food, it means treating yourself well. These recipes are a real treat!
- Something that just happens without planning. Acts of self-care are a conscious choice. Self-care is a daily practice, and a deliberate and intentional process of tending to the mind, body and spirit.
- #SelfCareSunday. It’s not something we do on rare occasions as a treat; self-care is all the practices we engage in regularly to help maintain and improve our wellbeing.
- Exercise as punishment. Getting enough exercise is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health; it increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy. What’s important is that you choose a form of exercise that you like!
The point of self-care is to improve our wellbeing
Understand self-care has 5 dimensions
There are 5 dimensions of wellbeing: mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social. As the point of self-care is to improve our wellbeing, it’s helpful to consider whether we’re covering each of these 5 dimensions in our self-care practices.
- Mental/Intellectual. A significant part of mental self-care is to cultivate stress management systems. What do you do to relax your mind and take time out from your busy life? Perhaps you meditate daily or have a regular break from social media?
On the other hand, what do you do to engage your mind in a positive way? It’s great to have friends who help expand your mind with exciting conversations and new ideas, but making time to read books or listen to interesting podcasts can also keep you thriving mentally.
- Physical. Getting enough sleep is a top priority when it comes to our physical self-care. It’s also essential to make time for daily movement, get enough rest and relaxation, and nourish your body with top quality foods and supplements.
Nutrition tip: Enjoying the occasional indulgence is perfectly healthy, but it can leave you feeling a little sluggish if you overdo it. A regular cleanse or detox ritual will help you get back on track! Herbal teas like Tropeaka Cleanse Herbal Infusion or superfood blends like Tropeaka Ultra Cleanse are both great additions to your physical self-care rituals.
- Spiritual. We all have different ways of taking care of our spiritual wellbeing. For some, it’s a daily nature walk to reconnect and feel that sense of oneness with the natural world. For others, attending a religious service is the best spiritual self-care, but there are so many other ways to improve your spiritual wellbeing, from meditation and journalling to practising forgiveness. What rituals connect you to your true self?
- Social. Our environment is so crucial to our wellbeing. How often do you spend time with people who lift you higher? It’s important to feel a sense of belonging with like-minded, positive people while steering clear of all toxic relationships. Social self-care is also about setting personal boundaries for our relationships, as well as having a rest from socialising when we feel we need some time alone.
- Emotional. Emotional self-care is about being kind to ourselves and listening to our feelings. Allow feelings to come up, rather than block and suppress them; even negative emotions will pass if we allow ourselves to feel and express them fully. Some simple self-care practices for emotional wellbeing include keeping a journal for gratitude and positive affirmations, talking to a friend or seeing a therapist, or writing a love letter to yourself.
Emotional self-care is allowing yourself to say ‘no’ when you want to and accepting help when you know you need it.
Without self-care, we’re always a moment away from overwhelm
Know what happens when we neglect self-care
When we don’t prioritise self-care, we become more prone to anxiety, distraction, anger, and fatigue. Lack of self-care exposes us to more prolonged periods of stress, which not only impacts our sleep, physical health and our appearance, but our self-esteem, confidence and relationships can suffer too. If you’ve ever snapped at a friend or partner for no real reason, then chances are your self-care slipped.
When our own basic needs aren’t met, it isn't easy to feel compassion and provide support for other people. Without self-care, we’re always a moment away from overwhelm, and we experience less joy, ease and fun in our daily lives.
Understand the power of ritual
Rituals are intentions that you turn into action or actions that you do with intention. The worldwide presence of ritual and ceremony in every traditional culture throughout history shows us that it’s in our nature to crave and create rituals. However, one of the most significant differences between modern and traditional cultures is that we now have very few rituals, while traditional cultures have many.
The idea of self-care has become more and more popular because it reconnects us with ritual in a positive way. For example, prioritising self-care might lead us to celebrate with ceremony, presence and reverence, rather than celebrating by drinking too much and numbing our experience.
- An intention to experience the moment.
- A symbolic or practical action to anchor an experience and embody our intention.
- Different from habits and routines where we’re just going through the motions. However, with intention, attention and energy, our habits and routines can become rituals.
Survival mode vs. creativity and flow
Rituals bring us back to the present with mindful awareness, requiring that we stop for a moment and simply notice. Self-care rituals not only help us find balance and help us manage the ebb and flow of our lives, but they also enable us to connect with our authentic voice and step into our creative power. Have you ever noticed that it’s impossible to create or innovate when you’re stressed out and in survival mode?
Become more yourself
Self-care is the practice of personal rituals and self-soothing techniques that pay dividends when it comes to the rest of our lives. It’s about always being there for yourself, treating yourself like you’d treat someone you love, and making choices that support your long-term health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, it’s the area of life that often falls to the wayside when life gets busy.
This is a profound moment in history, where to move forward, the world needs everyone to become more themselves. The world needs more people to step into alignment and live their truth, which can only happen if all of us develop and commit to living a life that incorporates our own self-care rituals.