When you care for something (or someone), it means that you are looking after what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of that object or person. It also means that you pay serious attention or give consideration to doing something correctly, and that you work to avoid damage or risk to that object or person. You look out for them and think about how to help them.

For example, if you are a child care provider, it implies that you are involved in meeting a child’s needs for cleanliness, food, safety, learning, entertainment and communication (among other things). If you are a nurse, you care for patients by tending to their needs, ensuring that they get medicine, evaluations, food and the service that they need. If you are a superintendent who is responsible for a building, for example, you tend to the building’s needs in terms of repairs, power, leaks, cleanliness etc.

When it comes to self-care, it is a topic that often means or implies something selfish. Many people interpret self-care as something that should be done last after other people in their lives are ‘set’. It is viewed as something that is indulgent, time consuming and selfish. Self-care doesn’t refer to just pampering oneself, however.

It means that you look after yourself with the same care that you would expect to provide to others that you take care of. It means taking responsibility and accountability for your own security and communicating your needs and expectations. It means being aware of behaviors or thoughts that don’t provide you with a sense of well-being or that make you feel unsafe. Self-care represents an ongoing experience where you pay attention to yourself and focus on renewal so that you can face the situations that you encounter from a position of strength.

Self-care can be very efficient, and can also be integrated into your day to day activities. Each person will be different in terms of their preferences, however the below is a list of things to consider or try when attempting to incorporate more self-care into your routine.

Self care ideas for your physical life:

–       Stretch

–       Plan healthy snacks

–       Get rest

–       Exercise

–       Lift weights

–       Drink water

–       Practice good hygiene

–       Eat nourishing food

–       Take your vitamins

–       Take deep breaths

–       Get a massage

–       Visit your doctor

–       Hug someone

–       Take a bath

–       Dance

–       Rub your feet

–       Go to bed early

–       Appreciate your body

–       Floss

–       Make yourself comfortable

–       Play a sport

–       Have a cup of warm tea

–       Swim

Self care ideas for your mental life:

–       Read a book

–       Learn something new

–       Drive a different route

–       Take a vacation

–       Practice self reflection

–       Meditate

–       Clean up your space

–       Journal your thoughts

–       Work on a project

–       Go for a walk

–       Delegate a task

–       Create space on your calendar

–       Connect with someone who inspires you

–       Take time to be alone

–       Develop a hobby

–       Have phone-free time

–       Play

Self care ideas for your emotional life:

–       Scenery

–       Practice gratitude

–       Look at pictures of things that make you happy

–       Identify what emotion you are feeling

–       Learn how to process negative emotion

–       Be proud of pushing yourself to do things that are uncomfortable

–       Set boundaries

–       Be adventurous

–       Spend time in nature

–       Spend time with people that you like

–       Acknowledge your feelings

–       Wear something that makes you feel great

–       Watch your favorite show or movie

–       Surround yourself with things that you enjoy

–       Smile when you look at yourself in the mirror

–       Light a candle

–       Spend time with an animal

Self care ideas for your spiritual life:

–       Lend a hand

–       Pray

–       Visit a church

–       Be true to yourself

–       Read scripture

–       Remember that you matter

–       Develop work-life balance

–       Call a loved one

–       Get involved in your community

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