Self-care has been a term thrown around a lot these days. We all know what it is, but how can someone actually develop their own self-care practice?
We recently introduced a new series called Mental Mondays, through which we will be tackling a number of topics related to mental and emotional health. As a part of this series, we will be focusing on topics that are often ignored in Nigerian, African and other black communities with the aim of helping destigmatize mental health in our culture.
There are many ways to practice self-care: meditating, getting a massage, journaling and going for a run are just some of them. However, deeply nourishing self-care differs from person to person. One may find taking a long bubble bath relaxing and for another self-care may mean having a night out. This means that to develop a self-care practice that truly works for you, you need to know who you are.
Here are 5 simple ways to begin and develop a highly personal and nourishing self-care practice…
#1. Identify Yourself As An Introvert Or Extrovert
Simply put, an introvert is someone who derives energy from being alone and an extrovert is someone who needs high levels of stimulation, such as being around a large group of people. Where you land on the spectrum will determine what your self-care will look like. For extroverts, getting out of the house or being with friends is a form of self-care, whilst for introverts, reading for 30 minutes or cleaning the house is recharging for them.
#2. Make A List Of Self-Care Practises You Enjoy
It is helpful to write down all the things that relax and engages you so that you can pick and choose what you need that day depending on your physical, emotional and mental levels. It will also give you an idea of what is important to you and what you need to make time for. Whether it is going on a date night with your partner, getting creative or scheduling a manicure and pedicure.
#3. Know What Energises And Depletes You
If you dread the fitness classes you are going to or are having lunch with people who make you feel small and insignificant, it’s time to re-evaluate and replace them with activities you genuinely enjoy instead. Each self-care practice you engage in should make you feel stimulated and uplifted after you do them. Don’t spend your precious time and energy imposing upon yourself habits that make you feel dread and fear.
#4. Explore Different Interests And Hobbies
One of the best ways to develop a personalised self-care practice is to try different things. This may mean joining a yoga class, being open to podcasts, music and films outside of your normal or indulging in a beauty treatment you’ve never tried before. This will help you identify which self-care habits you enjoy and which you don’t, expand your experiences and deepen the sense of who you are.
#5. Connect To Who You Truly Are
There is no use in pretending to be someone you think you should be; someone who loves being around large groups of people when you love reading a book alone; someone who runs 5 times a week when yoga is more your thing. To become more familiar with who you are as a person and gain insight into your true self, online therapy is always a good option. You can learn more about online counselling at www.betterhelp.com. In other words, embrace who you are, your quirks, your loves, your dislikes, your needs and your tendencies. That is key to developing a self-care practice that genuinely works for you.
Giving yourself permission to explore and embrace who you are will lead you to develop self-loving habits that will serve you not only in moments of depletion and frustration but in your day-to-day life. The most important thing to remember is to take good care of yourself, whatever that means for you – no self-care habit is wrong if it truly makes you feel nourished inside.
Photo credit: Cover Image: Instagram | Julitha.Kabete
Originally published December 29, 2018
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