What is Self-Care and Why Does it Matter?

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Self-care is a term we often hear about, but it is not fully understood. Many people think it is simply meditating or working out. While those techniques may work for some, self-care is so much more – it’s the practice of taking an active role in protecting, preserving and improving one’s own health and well-being.  Think of it as a maintenance plan to keep your mind and body functioning at your best.

iFoster recently launched a self-care series in our How Do I tool in the iFoster portal. Self-care is always important, but it is even more essential in times like now when we may be experiencing additional stress.

To get you started, here are 6 general areas that you should consider when creating your self-care plan.

Physical/body:

This area is not necessarily about losing weight or working out -it is about caring for your body and helping it be the best it can be. Try to think about what is something you have done that leaves your body feeling great after. Once you find out what that was, just try to do more of it. Taking care of your body not only helps you keep healthy, but it helps boost our self-esteem.

 

Psychological/mind:

We all have mental health – it is impacted by our genetic make-up, our life circumstances and life stresses. It’s important that we check in with ourselves and notice things like racing thoughts or feeling anxious. There are tools we can use to help improve our mental health, but we all could benefit from professional mental health support at times. We often hesitate to wonder if we really need help – some feel their concern is too small, others fear their problem is so large that nothing could help. If you are experiencing mental health symptoms, find a trusted adult or mental health professional and start with something like, “I’m not feeling right. I think I need help. Can I talk to you about it?”

 

Emotional:

This can be anything that connects you to your feelings and emotions. 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. You can do this through journaling, but there are lots of ways to show yourself some self-compassion.

 

Spiritual:

Many people believe this domain is about religion. It can include religion, but it is really about knowing your values, morals and realizing what brings you peace. You can work on spiritual growth through a simple gratitude journal.

 

Personal:

This area focuses on what makes you happy and what type of life you want to create for yourself. Caring for this area can include creating a vision board, spending time with loved ones, getting out of debt, or developing a hobby.

 

Professional:

Think about how work or school can put stress on your mind or body. How will you keep this stress in check? Some ways to do this is setting boundaries, taking lunch breaks at work, or even using your PTO to take a mental health day.

Sign up for iFoster membership today to access all of the resources and knowledge in the iFoster portal -including ways to develop your own unique self-care plan.

 

Author: Kimberly Khan, MSW from Hunter College with a BSW & Life Coach & Program Specialist at iFoster

Check out Kimberly’s COVID-19 Tips for Staying Healthy & Happy: A few of her personal suggestions that she hopes will help you and others stay healthy and happy through these difficult times as all of us work through daily challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

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