Self-care is taking the time to care for yourself in the ways that work best for you. There’s no one way to practice it and we can’t tell you what will work in your situation (though you can always contact us for some suggestions to get started).
We talk a lot about self-care at love is respect.
Let’s establish the basics:
When do you need it?
Who should do it?
Why is it so important?
Because your emotional well-being is worth it.
Healthy relationships include time for yourself and your own interests, but even alone time can be limited by work, school, or other stressors in your life. Self-care means using the time that you have to take the best care of yourself possible, whatever that looks like. Have fun and relax in a way that lets you feel free and happy.
Self-care is extremely important for anyone, but especially for people who have experienced abuse or other forms of trauma.
Journaling, writing poetry, or making art can be therapeutic ways to express yourself and may not require expensive equipment or materials — just remember to store what you create away from your partner(s) if you want to keep those expressions private. No matter how you organize your thoughts, have fun with it and let yourself dream.
If you don’t enjoy writing or art, you can find any number of activities to practice self-care. Consider volunteering somewhere in your community as a way to give back and meet new people with similar interests, or explore the outdoors, cooking, music, or a new language as ways to express yourself.
Regular physical activity like hiking, yoga, dancing, or walking your dog are all good ways to release energy that can also help you appreciate all the ways your body supports you.
Don’t forget to eat and sleep regularly and drink plenty of water. When our minds are stressed we depend on our bodies to continue pushing us forward. If possible, eat a balanced mix of veggies, fruits, nuts, carbs, and protein, and avoid skipping meals because you’re upset or too busy. Sugary or caffeinated drinks can also exacerbate stress, headaches, digestion problems, and difficult sleeping.
Be sure to establish your own boundaries when practicing self-care.
For some people, spending time with family is relaxing and makes them happy; for others, talking to a therapist about their problems is a better outlet for their emotional health. Don’t feel pressured to depend on traditional systems of support if they don’t serve your situation.
Finding ways to practice self-care can be really simple, and you shouldn’t overthink it or get stressed trying to identify the right way to do it. Take a bubble bath, play a video game, paint your nails, watch a cat video, read a book, or just focus on your breathing for five minutes at a time. What’s important is that you take the time to do it.