Self care can be a very over used term in the current social climate. Much like personal development and positive mindset, they are terms uttered so often that they have become buzz words rather than things which ought to be taken seriously. Despite this fact, it does not dull the need and paramount importance that one should practice self care.
What is self care though?
Quite simply it is any action performed that adds to your personal growth and/or mental renewal. This means self care is different for everyone, there is no right or wrong (granted some activities may cause harm to the body when indulged in). A good example of self care is the indulgence of a hobby and the term indulgence is used quite purposefully here as it should be something you derive great pleasure from.
Hobbies can involve reading, painting, cooking, musical instruments, the list is endless; many people like to undertake a sport or class which both develops their skills and gives them mental relief. There is a misconception that going to the gym is a form of self care; though it is very important to exercise daily – unless you absolutely love going to the gym, it does not count.
Now that self care has been defined, why is it important?
Self care is the counter balance to stress. Stress can manifest in many ways and as discussed prior, it can come in the form of positive or negative stressors however regardless of the form it still mounts up within the body and can lead to many different health disorders. Depending on your stress levels, putting aside an hour a day for self care may be enough to counter act the negative effects of stress.
Another reason self care is so important is that everyone plays many roles in a day. If we were to refer to them as personas then there could be the work persona, parent persona, friend persona, partner persona and many others. This means that you may end up stretching yourself too thin and as such self care can help to feed the persona that is your true self as the stress undertaken from all those roles does built up and weigh upon you when you are by yourself.
One can also perform self care by getting weekly acupuncture treatments. Chinese Medicine was always more about prevention than cure as a previous article discussed. Besides lowering stress, Chinese Medicine can also assist in boosting the immune system, increasing energy levels, improving digestion and many other issues that arise from high stress levels.
In summary, besides making time to exercise and taking care of diet, one should make time to practice self care daily. Whatever activity that gives you joy and makes the mental pressure subside is worth doing before the pressure builds too high and manifests as physical symptoms. Should such a situation occur you should consider seeking regular maintainance from a registered Chinese Medicine practitioner.