Written by Rouba Chalabi
Self-care is the new empowerment: a woman taking responsibility to care for her body, mind, and soul. In times of stress and uncertainty, we easily neglect our needs as we attempt to take charge of pressing matters and end up becoming depleted. Practicing self-care on a regular basis builds the vitality, focus, and clarity that are needed to manage challenging times.
You may be wondering, self-care is a luxury or perhaps a selfish act. Indulging in feel good interventions such as eating, drinking, social media or shopping may bring immediate relief. However, those activities are short lived and do not have sustainable impact on your well-being.
Self-care is your investment into yourself. Through a regular routine of resourceful activities, you fill your energy tank with drops of health and vitality. Over time, your tank becomes fuller and you become stronger.
Self-care encompasses a wide array of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual activities. Here are a few examples:
Physical self-care is about taking care of the body, such as:
- Good nutrition and ensuring healthy food is available when you are hungry. This often involves cooking and meal planning.
- Hydration: are you drinking enough water? You may want to cut on all this excess coffee and alcohol.
- Sleeping: are you sleeping enough?
- Walking: Walk somewhere rather than use a car. Why not park your car further away or take the stairs rather than the elevator?
- Touch: How about a self-massage as you get out of the shower? This is a great way to release feel good hormones.
- Dancing: Just raise the volume and dance like no one is watching. Free flow dancing takes toxic energy away. Dancing is a wonderful family activity. All it takes is 5-10 minutes.
Mental self-care is about relaxing the mind:
- Technology detox: How about you switch off your phone starting 8 PM or maybe just silence it?
- Traditional games: When was the last time you did a puzzle or played a board game or tawleh? The nervous system relaxes when playing as attention is on the present moment without thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Playing also stimulates the mind and improves brain function.
- Reading: when was the last time you read a nice book? You may instead want to listen to an inspiring TedTalk or perhaps listen to a podcast while driving.
Emotional self-care is about finding indirect outlets for your feelings:
- Singing: Looking to lift your spirit up, just sing! Singing releases negative energy. Sing while showering. Sing while driving, or cooking or tidying.
- Art and creativity: I love coloring. It relaxes me and changes my mood. Some love knitting or painting or drawing.
- Acts of kindness: When was the last time you allowed another car to pass first? How about you smile and say hello to a stranger today?
- Positive self-talk: Do you pay attention to your inner dialogue? If your talk needs to be censored, you may want to change it. How about you look into the mirror and begin addressing yourself in a loving and supportive way?
- Forgiveness: Do not wait for others to say sorry. Practice forgiveness as it releases you from much unneeded poison.
Spiritual self-care is about connecting with your inner self. Aside from religious practices, spiritual self-care encompasses a wide array of activities:
- Breathing: our breathing becomes fast and shallow when sad or stressed out. Take five minutes breaks during the day to breathe deeply and slowly. Make sure your inhales and exhales are equal in length. How about doing it during your toilet break?
- Meditation: breathing and meditation go hand in hand. A good way to start meditation is to focus on your inhales and exhales while breathing. Whenever a thought comes to your mind, focus your attention back on your expanding and collapsing chest and imagine a pin fixing you on the ground in the right here and right now.
- Time in nature: Just enjoy the wind caressing your face as the sun burns your skin while the birds sing in the background. Nature heals.
- Alone time: I love silence. Switch off and just do nothing or maybe a little bit of self-reflection.
What are you willing to incorporate into your daily routine today? Start simple, just begin with one activity. Over time, try to have four activities: one from each of the body, mind, emotions and spiritual buckets. As you can see, many of those activities are free of charge. You may face some inner resistance as you contemplate self-care. Watch for your inner critic doubting or resisting your self-care. Maya Angelou once said: “Your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head and wear it.” Yes, you deserve care.
Rouba is a healer and food addiction counselor. She began a process of mind, body and soul transformation in 2017. Inspired by her personal journey, she left an international twenty-year career in public policy and communication to fully dedicate herself to supporting people improve their wellbeing. She lives in Lebanon and offers sessions in stress release and relaxation, breathwork and trauma release, and food addiction recovery. Her passion is to help others with similar struggles through what she has learnt from improving her own wellbeing.
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