February is the month of love. We usually think of secret admirers and valentines when we think of love in February. When was the last time, though, that you took some time to love yourself?
Taking time to love yourself is usually called self-care. Self-care is an important part of health and wellness. It’s sometimes viewed on a spectrum opposite traditional medical care. Self-care includes any type of healthcare you give to yourself.
Essentially, self-care means taking care of yourself. It involves prioritizing yourself and your health. It makes sense because you truly know yourself best. In fact, in a lot of cases, only you know exactly what you need.
Self-care might seem like a fluffy concept or even something you think you need to be trained for. In reality, it can be a really simple process. Self-care is as easy as recognizing what you need in any given moment—or even seeking help when you’re not quite sure what you need.
A common misconception is that self-care is restricted to those dealing with mental health issues. That’s simply not true. Self-care is often applied in mental health because only you can truly gauge your stress levels and mental capacity. It’s important to keep tabs on how you’re doing mentally in order to recognize when you need a break.
So, while it is important in mental health, self-care can also be applied across all aspects of health and wellness.
Perhaps you’re struggling with living a physically active lifestyle. You can care for yourself by recognizing what workouts you enjoy, and which you need to grit your teeth and work through. You can also care for yourself by realizing when a day off is necessary to let your body recover.
Self-care works similarly in emotional health. When have you had enough? When do you need to get your emotions in check? Perhaps you need to step away from a situation to allow yourself to calm down and to check in with your emotions.
The same is true with things like social health. Only you know when you need to spend time alone or with others. You can best tell if your social network is draining you or empowering you.
Self-care can even extend into the realm of nutrition and dietary health. You know the moderation your body needs. Caring for your nutritional health simply means recognizing that the things you eat impact how your body works, and ultimately those decisions are up to you.
In all aspects of health, self-care is about doing what’s best for you. Health can look a little different to everyone. A healthy lifestyle fits with the lifestyle you value. In order to realize how healthy behaviors fit into your lifestyle, though, you need to be in tune with both your body and your mind as you go through your day. And that is what self-care is all about.