Self-care can simply be defined as the care for oneself, but the interpretation as to how one individual may take care of oneself varies.
Like many others, including myself, some days are much harder than others. Some days may even months, maybe years? A bad day can feel like a lifetime but it's important to remember that you're not alone for feeling the way you feel. It's important to remember that bad days are temporary and although some bad days are hard to forget, I promise there will be good days too.
On our bad days, self-care is extremely important and we deserve some extra self-love. Self-care can be expressed in different ways, whatever makes us feel personally feel uplifted; going on a really nice run, treating yourself to your favorite foods, or something as simple as taking a nap. The way I see it, self-care can be divided into five main categories.
1. Emotional Self-Care
We've all had a really long day before. Whether it was because of the unwanted surprises life throws at us, the internal battle you're having with yourself, or both, sometimes you have to take a step back for a moment and remember to focus on one thing at a time––starting with the present. Emotions can range on the spectrum from one side to another and that's okay. You're allowed to feel however you want to feel. Some things that we can do to give our emotional well-being some extra care are journaling our emotions down in a notebook, crying uncontrollably or laughing uncontrollably, or reminding yourself that you are a gem in this world and even though things seem bad right now, the light will eventually shine.
2. Spiritual Self-Care
Spiritual doesn't necessarily have to correlate with some form of "higher being" or any belief along those lines. It can also mean to simply get in touch with our inner selves. However you decide to interpret that word is up to you. I wouldn't consider myself religious but I do pray and hope for all is well in the universe whenever I can. If that's not your cup of tea, there's always other options; meditating for a few minutes, reading a really good book you can't put down, or simply just doing something you enjoy from the goodness of your heart. Always have faith in something.
3. Physical Self-Care
Some days we accidentally sleep in a bad position and our bodies are in so much pain we can't even properly move or some days we have the worst headaches from crying. You can clearly see one over the other but it's still a physical pain. Fast heartbeats, sweaty palms, and nausea can all be physical actions that we feel. The best advice I can give for treating your physical well-being is finding something that works best for you and your body. That could be sleeping in extra longer to recharge after a long day, eating healthier to get more energy, or going on a run throughout your neighboorhood.
4. Social Self-Care
I have this really bad habit of isolating myself when things aren't going to great in my life. I tend to suppress every little thing, pretend like everything's okay (when it's obviously not), and just disconnect myself from the outside world. We've all been there. Sometimes it's not answering your parents' phone calls or declining any plans that may come your way. I'm a homebody that loves her alone time, but even then it feels off. I eventually learned that none of these are a healthy way of coping when times get hard; instead, I've begun different approaches like getting my favorite food with my best friends, joining a club and meeting new people that have the same interest as me, or just simply just trying to live in the moment.
5. Mental Self-Care
Our mental health is an important subject that we should all be familiar with. It's a major contributor when taking care of ourselves and technically, all the previous categories can be taken into our account for mental health as well. Personally, I tend to overthink everything that comes into my mind––I'm sure a lot of people do. For me, I'd say it's always important to remember to step back, breathe, and become present in time instead of focusing on the bad. I know it's easier said than done but replaying all the bad times and analyzing those moments can be detrimental to our health; don't let it consume you as hard as it may try to. Always take a day off for yourself when you need it!