“Self-care” is a very trendy term these days, and it tends to bring up images of things like chanting meditation, warm bubble bath, and days spent lounging in the sun.
While all of those things are great in their own right, however, an effective approach to self-care should have a broader scope – and should help to not only give us a bit of momentary pleasure and satisfaction, but also contribute to an enhanced sense of well-being and meaning overtime.
Life can often be quite tense and frustrating in a variety of different ways, and it may be that you need to seek external help at some point – such as by looking into long term care eligibility.
On a day-to-day level, however, it’s always a great idea to look for ways to enhance your own baseline levels of well-being, and to do what you can to ensure that you have the best possible chances of meeting each day head-on, in the spirit of positivity and enthusiasm.
Here are some things your self-care routine should include.
Activities that feel meaningful to you on a deeper level
A sense of deeper meaning in life is something that everyone yearns for, and that people have been seeking to discover ways to achieve for as long as humanity has been around.
While momentary pleasures and satisfactions are one thing, a sense of deeper meaning in life is something else altogether – and often the things that make us momentarily satisfied are not the same as the things which help us to get in touch with a sense of deeper meaning.
Your self-care routine should always contain at least one or two activities that help you to connect with a deeper sense of meaning, whatever way that manifests itself to you.
In your case, that “deeper sense of meaning” might come about through writing a novel, working on painting a masterpiece, volunteering for a charity, or just spending more time with your family.
Time spent in nature and natural settings
The natural world can be a deeply healing force in our lives, but in today’s world, fewer of us than ever before are actually in contact with the natural world on a regular basis.
Nonetheless, there is evidence that regular time spent in the great outdoors can boost both the sense of individual wellbeing, and can also improve physical health, as well.
Among other things, spending time in nature can help you to step outside of your own everyday concerns, and can get you into a state where you are able to relax and quieten your mind.
In addition to this, it’s even been suggested that breathing in the health-promoting aerosols released by trees can have remarkably positive benefits for well-being, both physical and mental.
A consistent sleep wake routine
The importance of a consistent sleep wake schedule should by no accounts be understated – not least of all because sleep is a fundamental pillar of emotional resilience and well-being, but also because it is a fundamentally important part of physical health, as well.
According to the sleep researcher Matthew Walker, author of the book “Why We Sleep,” chronic sleep deprivation is an epidemic levels, and this results in all sorts of conditions ranging from weakened immunity, to blood sugar regulation so poor that it would lead to an immediate diagnosis of pre-diabetes – after only a few days of moderate sleep deprivation.
It’s not exactly a secret that it feels really good to get a good night’s rest. But instead of viewing sleep as some kind of luxury that you need to pass up on, on a regular basis, in order to be more productive or catch up on your TV viewing, start to see it as an essential component in self-care.
Moments of “silence” away from the frustrations of everyday life
The famous Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge is a big fan of regular periods of “silence” – by which he mostly means periods of time where we can quieten our habitual mental chatter, and experience the sense of being centered and balanced that results from this.
Kagge, himself, has certainly practiced what he preaches. Among his many incredible feats, he holds the record for being the first man to walk solo to the South Pole – and for the better part of that journey his walkie-talkie was broken, meaning that he traversed the frozen continent in more or less complete silence for approximately 30 days.
Fortunately, it’s not necessary for us to go to those lengths in order to experience a bit of silence and stillness.
Instead, just go for a stroll every so often without checking your phone.
Regularly allowing the mind to settle and still can be a fantastic component in self-care.
Goals and activities that help to make you feel that you are moving in the right direction in life
In order to enjoy the best possible sense of well-being, it’s necessary to feel a sense of agency and capability, rather than the feelings of helplessness and fatalism that typically come with simply “going with the flow” and not taking steps to guide the direction of your own life.
Setting yourself certain goals that you genuinely want to achieve, and taking proactive steps to go after them on a regular basis, isn’t solely a matter of “ambition.”
When kept in the correct balance, it can be at least as much a matter of self-care.
Part of the key is to select goals to work towards that actually help you to feel as though your life is heading in the right direction, and as though you are living in alignment with your values, as opposed to just pursuing status milestones that you don’t necessarily feel very invested in, on a deep level.