“Acknowledge, accept, and honor that you deserve your own deepest compassion and love,” wrote Nanette Mathews.
You may make a point to practice self-care – but do you do so fully? Or is your self-care lopsided, engaging your mind but not your spirit, your body but not your soul?
Here are six areas of self-care that you need to address in order to nurture yourself in a full and balanced way:
1. Adventurous Self-Care:
Choosing to pepper our lives with adventure can open the mind and awaken the soul. It keeps us from falling into an internal rut. Go on a hike through the woods, or explore a new city. Take a class in a topic that has always interested you. Become involved politically. Do anything that stretches your comfort zone and makes you feel alive.
2. Spiritual Self-Care:
Without a well-developed sense of values, it can be hard to know who we are. Build your self-knowledge and sense of peace by engaging in activities that foster spiritual growth. Meditate. Attend church services. Pray. Keep a gratitude journal. Help people. Turn your spirituality outward, and make the world a better place. Grow your soul, and give back to your community.
3. Physical Self-Care:
“Health is hearty, health is harmony, health is happiness,” wrote Amit Kalantri. Get enough sleep. An active mind and body need lots of rest. Excecise your muscles in a way that feels good to you – whether that’s yoga, running, or hiking through the mountains. Feed yourself healthy foods. Treat your physical form with care and respect. It’s not about vanity – it’s about embracing a healthy lifestyle from the inside out.
4. Mental Self-Care:
We need to work our minds just as diligently as we do our bodies. They, too, can turn to mush, and that’s a tragic thing. Stimulate your brain in a way that is fun for you. Visit an art museum. Write a poem. Engage in a heated debate. Solve a puzzle. Read a book that is written from a point of view that challenges your own. Stretch your mental muscles to keep them from stiffening up.
5. Sensory Self-Care:
Indulging our five senses helps to lower stress at our most basic and animalistic level. Engaging in sensory self-care increases mindfulness and connects us to the earth. Take in a beautiful sunset. Listen to soothing music. Light a candle that reminds you of your favorite vacation spot. Eat some decadent chocolate, and snuggle under a cozy blanket. Breathe.
Take a moment each day to check in with your emotions. Work through difficult feelings in an active way, to ensure that you learn from your emotional challenges rather than letting them eat you from the inside. Acknowledge and identify your feelings. Write them down. Give yourself permission to cry and to laugh. Treat yourself with the same sense of compassion that you would a close friend.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,” wrote Audre Lorde. Care for yourself. Love yourself. Be a warrior. It’s one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and, ultimately, to the world.