Self-care: What does it actually mean?

Aditi was excited to get back to the office and continue to flourish in her role as a team leader. Her child starting school could not have occurred at a better time. With the changes came the hours of commute, waking up early, preparing breakfast, packing lunch boxes and the laundry piling up for the weekends. A month flew by and Aditi noticed that her enthusiasm was waning and she would wake up tired on most days. On the advice of her partner, she decided to take a day off and rest. Watching one episode of her series soon turned into binge-watching. A quick lunch was followed by dusting away her paintbrush and canvas. She spent the next two hours painting and was surprised that she could do it with ease. The day ended on a wonderful note and she was back to her regular schedule the next day.

What does self-care look like? It involves taking care of ourselves and intentionally indulging in tasks that help to relax, unwind, take a break and recharge. We notice that Aditi practiced self-care after reaching a point where she was overwhelmed by her schedule. She was tired after binge-watching her favourite series, which may have been counter-productive. However, indulging in a hobby helped her experience calm, joy and feel rejuvenated. Self-care includes activities that help one engage and unwind.  Focussing on interests is  a great way to practice it.

Some examples of self-care include:

  • Listening to music,
  • Meditation and/or mindfulness,
  • Gardening,
  • Taking a vacation,
  • Hobbies like reading, singing, dancing, etc,
  • Conversations with people you are emotionally close to via phone calls or meeting in-person,
  • Enjoying a meal without the distraction of devices,
  • Sharing tough and scary moments with a trusted person or counsellor,
  • Volunteering or learning a new skill at work or home,
  • Basic hygiene and grooming, physical activity,
  • Spending time outdoors, in nature.

What is NOT self-care?

Do keep in mind that these do not count as self-care:

  • Mindless scrolling through social media,
  • Hours in a day that revolve around watching movies and shows,
  • Lying in bed for hours after you wake up or through the day,
  • Binge-eating junk food, or not having meals through the day,
  • Excessive shopping (both online and in-person),
  • Indulging in tobacco/alcohol/drugs as a stress-buster.
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