Written by Danielle Young

Self-care is a term that we hear often or see a lot on social media, but it's important to talk about what it really is and why we do it. Self-care is not always face masks and bubble baths (though it can be!), it is a way that we recharge, reenergize, or re-establish our normal baseline. Through the days and weeks, all of the stuff we have to do and the roles that we play can push us off of our baseline. We can go up, down, sideways, literally all over the place because life is stressful and overwhelming - and some weeks more so than others. When we are off of our baseline, we start to feel anxious, depressed, stressed, easily agitated, fatigue, and so many more feelings. Maybe you just feel off, more irritable, more anxious, more spacey; all of these can be signs that it's time for self care.

In order for self-care to really work we must first recognize and reflect before we can begin to put self-care into action. When we say reflect, we mean being kind and gentle to yourself while engaging in some self-talk. Ask yourself, what am I feeling? What numbing/distraction behaviors am I engaging in? Why do I think I’m this way? And what is my body telling me I need? When we don’t take the time to listen or to connect with ourselves, we may try to do things to make us feel better, but it doesn’t always work. That's because you're not addressing the root! But when we know what it is we need, that is when self-care is effective.

So what are some examples of self care? One form of self-care that we are big fans of is setting boundaries. It's hard, but so important! Other self-care options could be spending time alone, getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night, engaging in a hobby that you enjoy, trying a new recipe, taking a break from screen time or social media, connecting back to nature, asking for help or support, saying no. It could even be spending some time organizing, taking time off of work, journaling, exercising, yoga, engaging in mindfulness, doing a guided meditation...really, anything that helps you re-fill your cup and bring your baseline closer to "normal."

Ready to get started? Great! Self care starts with creating a plan. First, write down some activities you already do for yourself, reflect on their effectiveness of making you feeling recharged, and then create a list of new activities you’d like to try for self-care. Then, the fun part: practice! Do some daily trail and error with those new activities and adjust as needed. Some might make you feel really great and others might not do as much as expected. That's okay! What you need changes over time, and you are in a life-long journey of self-discovery and self-love. Every little bit counts!