What is Self-Care?
According to the University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work, “self-care is an essential skill. Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance our short- and longer-term health and well-being. Self-care is necessary for your effectiveness and success in honoring your professional and personal commitment.”
I like to think of self-care as the act of placing your emergency oxygen mask on first in order to have the capacity to help others. Self-care should include being honest about your needs; asking for help and being emotionally open.
How do you practice self-care?
The most important aspect of practicing self-care is identifying and managing your basic needs. This sounds easy; however, many people find that they forget to eat or have difficulty sleeping during periods of stress. Next, start by checking in with yourself.
The best way to care for yourself is to implement tiny self-care habits every day; regularly including in your life small moments of love, nurturing and attention for your own body and mind. Self-care acts looks different to different people. For some it is the Parks and Recreation “Treat yo’ self” philosophy or catchphrase. Two of the main characters on the show celebrate the idea that at least once a year, you should take a day to indulge in some luxuries and love yourself. For others, it is unplugging and staying off of social media when the news causes jealousy, sadness, or becomes overwhelming. Either way, it is the constant repetition of many tiny habits, which together soothe you.
In order to help jump start your self-care journey, I have provided a list of small self-care activities.
20 Little Self-Care Ideas
- Take a bath or long shower.
- Fix a small annoyance; a door that squeaks or a phone charger that only works at a certain angle.
- Help someone/volunteer.
- Pet a dog, cat or any available domesticated animal.
- Date yourself. Spend time alone doing something that recharges you or brings you joy.
- Watch the sky- stargaze or cloud watch.
- Create a joyful deliberate habit such as singing in the shower.
- Do a mini-declutter-organize that junk drawer.
- Listen to your favorite song, album or Pandora station.
- Unplug for an hour. Turn off all of the electronics.
- Edit your social media feeds, and hide or unfollow any negative people.
- Have a dance party alone or with willing participants.
- Take a nap.
- Give your body a treat. A massage, manicure or pedicure.
- Go for a walk or run.
- Say no. Avoid logistically and emotionally over committing yourself
- Prepare your favorite snack or meal.
- Paint, draw, or craft.
- Meditate or pray.
- Play a game you enjoyed during your childhood.
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. ”
– Lucille Ball