“Self care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” – Katie Reed
I like to think of self care in terms of the bucket analogy. Imagine there is a bucket that is full of water. The bucket is representative of all of your time, energy, and responsibilities. All day long you take a scoop of water out of the bucket for each person that you help or responsibility that you take care of. At the end of the day, how much water would be left? For a lot of us, the answer would be that the bucket is empty. If the bucket is empty, there is no more water to take for ourselves. If we practice self care, that is the equivalent of adding water back into the bucket, instead of taking it out. With water left in the bucket, we are able to put our best selves forward.
Self care is defined as "any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health" (Michael, 2018). Self care can be divided into four different categories: physical, emotional, social, and spiritual.
Physical self care relates to eating healthy, getting good sleep, and exercising. The physical self and the mental self are interconnected. When you physically feel good, your mental health is increased. The opposite is true as well. When you are not caring for your physical self, your mental health is affected. Examples of physical self care includes eating fresh fruit and vegetables, taking naps when needed, and getting your body moving through exercise.
Emotional self care is practicing values that are near and dear to your heart. This includes examining your emotions and sorting through how you feel about different scenarios that occur throughout your life. This can be done by identifying how you are feeling and then moving forward in a positive way that brings closure and peace. Some of these practices include forgiveness and kindness.
Social self care encompasses all types of social supports. It involves all of the relationships in your life. It can help to broader or to narrow relationships. One of the biggest types of social self care is setting boundaries with the people around you. Boundaries are so important because they allow you to set the expectations of how you would like to be treated by others. Other types of social self care include spending time with friends and family and asking for help when needed.
The last type of self care is spiritual self care. This type of self care allows you to connect with yourself on a deep and meaningful level. This can include taking time to practice religion or practicing meditation and mindfulness exercises. Spiritual self care can also include connecting with nature through walks and hikes.
When thinking about your bucket full of water, practicing different types of self care from each of the four categories will help to fill your bucket.
Michael, R. (2018). What Self-Care Is — and What It Isn’t. Psych Central. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-self-care-is-and-what-it-isnt-2/