I am the person in the friend group that wants to make sure everyone is in a good space. I am the family member that uses my own energy in hopes to help everyone get along during the Holidays. I am the co-worker that brings baked goods for celebrations to spread some joy. Personally, allowing myself to engage in self-care has been an ongoing challenge. After twenty plus years of being in this role, I came to realize that while caring for everyone else around me, I wasn’t taking care of myself. That’s not to say that I stopped doing all of the things I mentioned above, I had to find a balance.

Baking cookies is a form of self-care for me, and I had to learn how to be mindful of that experience to give myself some energy too. I share this with you because I think it’s important to take the phrase “self-care” seriously, self-care cannot be defined by anyone other than yourself. My hope is that this blog enlightens you to take a step back. Allow yourself to explore what self-care means for you, how it can benefit you, and provide you with the time to care for yourself.

The Importance of Self-Care

Let’s be honest, the past few years have brought forward an abundance of challenges our way. Along with those challenges, I feel like there has been an increase in dialogue regarding self-care. The truth is, with or without challenges brought to us be society, the way of the world, and personal reasons- self-care has always been important. So why is it so important? Check out some of the many reasons below!

Self Care Reasons

Supporting Others: Like I mentioned above, most of us want to be able to support those that we care and love. We want to be the person that our loved ones can depend on. That’s a lot of pressure! When we care so deeply for others, it requires energy and time. In order to have energy and time, we need fuel for ourselves. To be the best for the people we care for, we have to care for ourselves.

Stress: In some shape or form, our lives are hectic. Stress looks and feels different for everyone and it’s something that we all experience. The effects that stress has on our body include (and certainly not limited to): headaches, low energy, stomach pain, aches, tense muscles, and sleep difficulties. Taking care of ourselves when we are feeling a lot of stress or when we feel less stressed is equally important. I like to think of caring for myself in a way that, if I consistently fill my body and mind with what I need, I’ll have an emotional bank account to go to when I feel more stressed.

Self-Awareness, Worth, and Esteem: At first, spending time with ourselves, may seem quite intimidating. Most likely because we have never allowed ourselves to or had a nervous feeling about it. It can be really scary to take the first step in getting to know ourselves without the distractions and stresses of the world. With that said, allowing yourself to know your mind and body, can strengthen the connection you already have with it naturally. As we continue to deepen and build the connection with ourselves, we begin to fill more confident and aware of our needs

Where to Start

I think it’s important to emphasize that self-care should not be stressful. Try not to put pressure on engaging in self-care, because that will lead to self-care providing quite the opposite of what we want it to. With that said, if there is a sense of anxiety or pressure you are feeling around engaging in self-care, start small! This could look like allowing yourself ten minutes in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea without distractions. It could be having a dance party with yourself to one of your favorite songs. What I’m saying is, that it takes practice to feel comfortable with yourself, allowing a space to focus on yourself, especially with all that comes with everyday life. For those of you who are reading this blog and feel that you have a good routine of self-care, I encourage you to stick to it, explore new opportunities that give you a space to self-soothe.

Turn into You

Part of me wanted to provide a list of self-care ideas for all of you to pick from and try. Then as I thought about it more, who am I to identify what self-means for you? I think overall, self-care is what brings you a sense of comfort and peace with yourself. It is going to look incredibly different for everyone. My hope is that after reading this blog, you’ve found your mind wandering on how you can prioritize “me” time in whatever shape or form that takes. Allow yourself to get excited about brainstorming what feels good for you mentally and physically. The first step is doing just that, allowing yourself the time to think about what is good for you is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Then, experiment and find what is right for you to build the relationship with yourself that you deserve.