Self-care is a term that’s been so heavily commodified that it’s become near impossible to get to the heart of its meaning. Articles informing you how to practice self-care often encourage you to indulge yourself by cheating on your diet or having a spa day, with the intention that these practices will make you feel better.
While indulging yourself can be relaxing, taking a bubble bath and putting on a sheet mask once every two weeks does little to remedy emotional and physical fatigue. Self-care is not always aesthetically pleasing. It can include anything from exercising regularly to setting up personal boundaries.
Long term self-care means creating an environment that you don’t feel the need to escape from. Below are a few modes of self-care that have tend to be overlooked.
1. Be kind to someone.
A lot of self-care advice promotes different forms of self-indulgence, because those who are in need of a little TLC often neglect it in our day to day lives. If you are seriously skimping on your self-care you might think it’s because you’re not focusing on yourself enough, but that may not be the case.
We tend to be focused on ourselves whether that be in a negative or positive sense. This can leave us feeling isolated and the indulgent self-care that you can partake in can only do so much to combat this. That’s why it’s good to step outside of yourself from time to time and perform a few acts of kindness for others.
Acts of kindness can be as simple as buying flowers for someone or volunteering at your local animal shelter or food bank. If you’re not up to going out, you could leave positive reviews for shops or places that you love. You could also donate to a charity with a cause you support.
2. Sweat it out!
Breaking a sweat is definitely one of the least glamorous self-care methods but that doesn’t mean it’s not essential. When you physically exert yourself you not only release endorphins but dopamine and serotonin as well. These neurotransmitters all work together to regulate your mood.
The most obvious way to break a sweat is exercising, and it’s also the most effective way to increase dopamine levels. But if you’re not in the mood to take a jog around the block or lift weights, there are more tranquil ways to get those levels up. Gardening and cooking are rewarding ways to break a sweat.
3. Accomplish a goal.
Most of us have goals that we wish to accomplish at some point in the future. Unfortunately, we put off the future so far that our goals are often forgotten. The abundance of things you wish to accomplish might lead you to assume that you have too much to accomplish.
Choose at least one goal, perhaps one that you’ve wanted to pursue for a while and follow through with it. Whether that be learning to play the guitar, master the splits or make the perfect strawberry tarte tatin, with persistent determination you are bound to reach your goals in time.
You’ll also might become quite proud of yourself when your friends commend you on your impressive baking skills. Undivided pursuance of a goal can also help you develop a greater awareness of your body and appreciation of your skills.
4. Get your annual check-up.
Though most of us know that we need to make regular doctor’s appointments, it’s not uncommon to put them off. Even if we have ailments that cause us discomfort, like a toothache or persistent migraine, sometimes it’s easier to accept them rather than taking the time to get treated.
This form is so often forgotten most likely because it isn’t very glamorous and requires planning. But, your health is essential and it’s vital that you get regular checkups to ensure that you are physically well. Visits that are especially important are to get an annual check-up, gynecological visits, and vaccinations.
The primary goal of practicing self-care is for you to be able to feel at peace with yourself. This could mean painting your nails or calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. This post is not meant to gate-keep the term, self-care, but rather to draw attention to the multiple ways that it can be practiced.