So far in this series on Self-Care, we have looked at the ’Self’, ‘Self-Understanding’ and ‘Self-Compassion’. In this article I will be looking at how to do ‘Effective Self-Care’.
Effective Self-Care is caring for the ‘self’, the ‘I am’, or to put it in broader terms, the whole self: physical, cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual parts of the self.
How do I look after my whole self?
- Understand who ‘I am’ and develop a self-concept that is truly ‘me’, not based on faulty beliefs, the values or expectations of others. This doesn’t mean to ignore what others say as often what they say can be helpful. Rather, evaluate what they say using reflective practice (refer article 2. Self-Understanding)
- Take time to be reflective in everyday life. When something happens and you experience an emotional jolt, do a check-in on the inside. We can learn a lot by tapping into our emotions and really getting to know that part of the ‘self’. Emotions, after all, just give us information!
- Develop self-compassion and quiet the overly critical voice. The ‘inner-critic’ gives us useful information so don’t ignore it, as it may be trying to keep you safe. Sometimes however it can get away from us and leave us feeling wrung out and discouraged. Learn self-compassion! When life stuff gets you down, give yourself an inner hug and be kind to yourself.
- Knowing more about your ‘self’ will give you self-awareness that will help you to do ‘effective self care’ and avoid the trap of self-care that is short term, last minute, hurried and a desperate attempt to calm down. ‘Effective Self-care’ is thoughtful, timely, and will truly refresh, energise, and encourage the whole of you.
- As you refresh, energise and are encouraged, you will be more able to engage in life and in healthy relationships with those you love and interact with.
Effective self-care is not an escape into salt baths and chocolate cake.
Effective self-care is knowing ‘self’ so as to look after you to enable you to live life with energy.
Effective self-care may include enjoying a salt bath or eating chocolate cake at the right time!