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How to Start a Self-Care Routine You’ll Follow?
The concept of self-care originated in the 1950s in the medical community by emphasizing individualistic acts and practices for the greater health of the patient. Several public welfare propagations used the term for promoting social justice and change in the context of issues like racism and LGBTQ rights. It was not until 2000 that the concept re-emerged after the 9/11 attacks, and psychiatrists and therapists started using the term for people's mental health.
Over time, WHO gave it a public health perspective and defined it as the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider."
What Exactly is Self-Care?
Despite the extensive literature on Self-Care, understanding self-care terminology becomes challenging because of the diverse definitions associated with the term for almost half a century. That said, the most popular Self-care explanation formed by analyzing the databases of peer-review articles and full-text publications defines the term as - the ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance to achieve, maintain, or promote optimal health and well-being.
Simply put, Self-Care means giving importance to yourself and prioritizing your health so you can be safe and focus on doing what makes you happy. Self-care helps you deal with your physical, emotional and social handicaps and work on them to achieve a balance in life.
How to Start a self-care Routine?
There are various forms of Self-Care that you can implement in your life. Here is a brief idea about some of them with methods of implementing them −
Physical Self Care
Physical self-care involves methods to improve physical health, from eating healthy to practicing sleep hygiene to following extensive care regimens combining diet, exercise and therapy. It also involves identifying your systemic complications early and getting the required medical attention without delay. You can initiate your self-care routine by being aware of your health conditions, acquiring knowledge about any risks and overcoming the challenges you face while mastering your self-care techniques. During this time, lack of support or symptoms or disability can hinder achieving your self-care goals. But eventually, if it achieves the purpose and works for your betterment, then the pain was worth every bit.
Studies have shown that it can take somewhere between 18-254 days to develop a habit. And it is expected to experience ups and downs and even experience lapses while adapting to a new routine. But eventually, if it achieves the purpose and works for your betterment, then the pain was worth every bit of pain.
Mental Self Care
Mental self-care involves a set of routines you need to implement to reduce stress levels and declutter your mind. Sleeping on time, eating healthy regular meals, focusing on staying positive, doing things that you like, and, most importantly, practicing gratitude are some mental self-care activities that can keep you engaged and mentally healthy.
Gradually your self-confidence will increase along with your self-esteem, and you will feel good about yourself. Once you successfully start coping with everyday stress levels, work productively, and are happy with yourself, you will understand that your self-care techniques are working.
Studies about self-care in mental health services have shown that getting support from support staff and positive collaboration with mental health care providers helped the participants practice mental self-care better.
E.g., Specific guidance about self-care and encouragement from nurses are meaningful for women to effectively perform self-care actions resulting in the promotion of long-term wellness in the later years of life. The role of health caregivers in the form of timely support, prescribing medicines and monitoring the self-care progress is equally important in getting good quality mental self-care.
Social Self Care
Social Self-Care is the act of taking care of your well-being by maintaining positive social relationships and developing your social identity by reaching out to others and establishing meaningful connections with them. Psychology experts have pointed out that we are affected by both nature and nurture, and it is through socialization that every new generation is trained according to the Cultural goals, ideals, and expectations of society.
Socialization helps us uphold our societies and culture and stay socially recharged through engaging in social self-care activities. In a study conducted to determine how social networks influence therapeutic self-care behaviors and health among community-dwelling older people living with multiple long-term conditions, providing them with a strong social network and social support influenced their mental health and quality of self-care immensely.
A National Survey of Drug Use and Health results hinted at fewer suicidal tendencies in people practicing social self-care. Calling a close friend, joining an online support group where you can interact with people who understand your struggles or even catching up with friends for a walk and talk can help you stay connected emotionally and heal.
Emotional Self-Care is often confused with mental self-care, even though the two are different topics. Emotional self-care is defined as becoming aware of what you are feeling and channeling your internal feelings in a positive manner that will benefit your wellness physically and mentally.
Cynical trials have shown that physical self-care methods can help pain management, but emotional self-care can instill in you the belief that you can manage your symptoms and overcome your problems. E.g., in individuals diagnosed with cancer, emotional self-care can instill in them the courage to fight and defeat the disease.
Incorporating activities like meditation, maintaining a journal and practicing self-regulation techniques in the form of anger management, pausing before responding and taking a step back instead of reacting negatively to situations can work in strengthening you emotionally. An improved emotional state of mind can make you resilient and help you express yourself and behave consistently with who you are and where you want to be in life.
It can improve your communication skills, enhance your sense of self-worth and instil a sense of happiness and fulfilment irrespective of ups and downs in your life.
Environmental Self-Care is simply taking care of your environment and creating a suitable environment for you to thrive. You can practice environmental self-care by stepping out of your house and engaging in community activities like volunteering, voting, and donating and charity services.
Studies conducted on college students during the pandemic have shown that social interactions can promote self-care, mitigate loneliness, and bolster social support. These interactions may be most valuable for maintaining existing self-care patterns, engaging in self-care activities, and receiving help.
When at work, organizing your space, making it clutter-free, and adding your personal touch to it in the form of framed photos or memorabilia can help you feel relaxed outside of your home and cultivate happiness and peace.
Spiritual Self Care
Spiritual self-care involves activities that nurture your spirit and allow you to think bigger than yourself. Studies have shown that cultivating a spiritual life can calm a restless mind and cultivate space to truly feel and follow what your heart desires without any apprehensions in your mind.
Meditation is one of the best ways to start your spiritual self-care routine that can instill a sense of awareness in you and calm your mind. Reading inspirational books, connecting with nature and practicing gratitude in your day-to-day activities can help you form the habit of spiritual self-care to help you find meaning in your life.
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