A Guide to Starting Your Self-Care Journey!
Life in general can be very overwhelming. Work, school, family issues, relationship issues, etc. can cause stress and sometimes a sense of anxiety or even depression. That’s why it’s important to practice self-care! I know what you’re thinking, people say to practice self-care all time, but what does it really mean?
Well, self-care is defined as the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health; in simpler terms, self-care is all about being mindful of your own mental, physical, and spiritual needs. Now don’t get me wrong, it can be hard to incorporate self-care into your already busy schedule, but what if I told you that self-care doesn’t have a set time limit! A 5-minute face mask and a 10-minute stretching session are self-care. Taking 30-minutes to read a book, 1 hour to walk, or even spending the whole day doing all your favorite things are time frames in which you can practice self-care. Whether it’s 5-minutes or a whole weekend, a little self-care can help your mental health, physical health, and overall well-being.
It is important to note that self-care and self-love are not the same thing but practicing one can result in the other. Over time, practicing self-care can lead you to love yourself more than you do now. It is important to be kind and compassionate to yourself the same way you are towards loved ones.
Self-love can also result in loving your body and the skin that you are in. Almost everyone has had problems with being comfortable in their skin and or body, but I am here to tell you that it is totally okay! We are all human, and sometimes the way we see ourselves when we look in the mirror can alternate. We should never compare ourselves to what or who we see on social media; every one of us is unique in our own way and that is what makes us beautiful! Self-care leads to self-love, and that self-love not only boosts your confidence on the outside, it can change the way you see yourself on the inside.
Your physical health can play a vital role in your self-care journey. Exercise is a great stress reliever that can do your body good and distract you from daily worries. But before jumping into those aerobic classes, if you are experiencing any medical conditions, injuries, etc., it might be smart to consult with your health care provider to ensure that a certain level of exercise is right for you.
Some physical activities that can help jumpstart your self-care routine include different forms of exercise, eating healthy meals frequently (but don’t forget to treat yourself to your favorite candy or salty snack every once in a while!), going for walks, drinking plenty of water, practicing a good sleep routine, having a cup of tea, taking a shower or relaxing in a bath, and sitting in the sunlight. Physical activities can improve your mood, increase self-confidence, and lower any symptoms of depression and anxiety. Finding the right form of physical activity for you can lead to an improvement in not only your physical health, it can help your mental health too.
Self-care can help your mental health by managing stress, increasing your energy, and lowering your risk of illness. Your mental health is the same as your physical health, you should always find what works for you. Playing video games, taking breaks from social media, listening to music, reading a book, meditation, practicing time-management, therapy, journaling, or talking to a trusted family member or friend are just a few examples of things you can do daily to improve your mental health. Doing these things can help you feel motivated and ultimately bring out the best version of yourself!
When thinking about treating yourself, it is crucial to note that you should do things that you love to do. It is fine to try other people’s ideas out, but the whole point of self-care is finding out what you like to do because in the end, it’s for your own satisfaction. You should never partake in activities that other people enjoy, and you don’t and call it self-care. Find new hobbies and skills to engage in and never worry about what everyone else thinks!
It can be hard to find new hobbies and skills that interest you. If you’re looking for new things to enjoy, try to write down a list of your potential hobbies/interests, and try each one to figure out which ones are right for you! People sometimes assume that treating yourself means spending (a lot of) money, but that’s not true. Reading, writing, drawing, coloring, painting, walking, and shopping are just a few activities that can be considered hobbies that also tie into your self-care journey and can be inexpensive! The most important aspect of these activities is that you can choose to do them alone or even with a family member or friend! Although we’re talking about self-care, it should be mentioned that there should be a balance between spending time alone and with others. In fact, making time for yourself can result in better relationships with the people around you. When you learn to love yourself and take care of yourself, it becomes easier to treat your loved ones with the same compassion.
People in life have their ups and downs, there is no escaping it; but no matter what you go through, you should still always look in the mirror and be able to love what you see. Starting to incorporate self-care in your life can do just that! Not only does it improve your physical and mental health, it boosts your confidence and ultimately helps you to create stronger bonds with your family and friends. Whether you decide to do a 5-minute walk or take the whole day to go to the spa and get your hair done, a little self-care can go a long way in enhancing the way you view life. So, next time we have an hour of free time that we usually spend scrolling on social media, how about we put our devices down and take that time to color and listen to some of our favorite music!
Emani Brooks is a senior at Suitland High School in Maryland. She currently is the President of the Suitland National Honor Society Chapter for the class of 2022. Emani plans to study Business Administration upon graduating high school and hopes to pursue a career in social media management.