Written by Candice Perry
Self – care is for everyone. It is an act of self – compassion. It is a practice that goes beyond bubble baths and pedicures (although those are terrific ways to relax and feel taken care of!) Everyday self – care involves the routines and habits we develop to take care of ourselves holistically. Taking time to socialize with friends and family, nourishing ourselves as best we can and taking time for movement and rest are all daily practices that support our physical and mental well – being.
What are the benefits of taking time and making the effort for self – care? There is evidence that daily self – care habits can prevent more serious health problems down the road. For example, daily oral care prevents gum disease, which can contribute to tooth loss and potentially impact our cardiovascular health. Nourishing food helps to boost our immune system, so that we can fend off infection more effectively, as well as making us feel more energetic and can be preventative for more serious illness.
Self – care is holistic. The physical habits we practice contribute to our mental health. For example, daily movement during the day can help us sleep at night, which makes us feel sharper and in a better mood the next day. When we feel better emotionally, we might have more energy to practice those physical habits that make us feel better, so it becomes a positive feedback loop.
The isolation of the COVID – 19 pandemic challenged us individually to get creative in meeting our self care needs. We are now challenged to prepare to re – emerge from isolation while adjusting to make the world around us a more understanding and inclusive place where everyone can have their needs met.
Self- care practice is an ever evolving practice and systemic barriers such as poverty and racism, or experience violence and trauma can make it more difficult to practice self – care. As we re-emerge and re-build, we can practice self – care to keep us energized and grounded and systems can work to transform to break down barriers that impede self care.
Small acts everyday can help to build a self-care practice. Anything like giving yourself permission to rest, to decide to sit out of specific activities that take your energy without rejuvenating you and doing things or spending time with people who give you joy are all part of self – care. Everyday self-care practice for everyone.