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What is Self-Care, Really?

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You wake up, drink coffee and have a quick bite to eat before going to work. At work, you go hard, taking very little breaks because of how much your work is demanding from you. When you get home, you still have to make food, do the dishes, and whatever else you didn't get done before.
You are exhausted.
So you just want to turn off your brain, watch Netflix, and scroll on your phone until it's time to go to bed.
And then, someone asks you: "What do you do for self-care?" You say, "I watch Netflix, drink wine, sleep in on the weekends, and I don't shame myself for it."


Okay. Maybe I'm just projecting a bit here, because that was definitely me yesterday. But I have a funny feeling that I'm not alone. And while it's good that we don't shame ourselves when we just need a break sometimes, self-care does not equate to any feel-good activity with the absence of shame.


Throughout our days, we are constantly responding to the stressors in our environment; and we eat/drink foods that taste good, but create stress in our bodies; and we are drawn to activities where we don't have to think anymore, but are stressful for our minds to process. And weirdly enough, we go to work the next day feeling even more exhausted/stressed (Are you sensing a cyclical pattern too?).


So, then how do we actually care for ourselves? A basic definition of self-care is: deliberately taking care of your wellbeing through restoring activities.

The key term here is "restoring activities."


So, here are 5 dimensions of self-care, and questions for assessing each dimension:

1) Physical:

-Are you getting adequate sleep?

-Is your diet fueling your body well?

-Are you taking charge of your health?

-Are you getting enough exercise?

2) Social:

-Are you getting enough face-to-face time with your friends?

-What are you doing to nurture your relationships with friends and family?

-Are you maintaining appropriate boundaries in your relationships?

3) Mental:

-Are you making enough time for activities that mentally stimulate you?

-Are you doing proactive things to help you stay mentally healthy?

-How much screen time do you have in a day?

4) Spiritual:

-What questions do you ask yourself about your life and experience?

-Are you engaging in spiritual practices that you find fulfilling?

-Does your worldview/belief system bring connection or disconnection in your world?

5) Emotional:

-Do you have healthy ways to process your emotions?

-Do you incorporate activities into your life that help you feel recharged?

-Do you allow yourself to feel difficult emotions? Or do you repress them?

Check out this video by Susannah Winters who talks about Self-Care:

Do you have any feedback/questions on this article? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to continue learning with you :)


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