When was the last time you got on a plane and avoided having to sit through the safety video? Can you remember what they said? They say first secure your own oxygen mask before helping others, don’t they?

Self-care is an important responsibility each of us take to look after ourselves and maintain good boundaries, keep in touch with what is important to us and to avoid burn-out. There are several self-care categories that we must pay attention to on a regular basis, and when we start to do this, we will gain the added benefit of greater insight.

What does that mean? Well, when we experience the inevitable busy periods of our lives, what is the first to go? Is it your exercise routine? Is it your regular catch up with friends or family time? By taking stock of what self-care activities you prefer, and which categories take preference over others we gain greater insight into ourselves, we discover what is important to us and what our priorities are.

Gaining greater insight is beneficial for many things. It helps us to set boundaries and goals and keep them on track, and it also shows us our limits and the types of things we like to do to keep within them and recharge.

One thing I commonly hear is that “I have no time”, which often accompanies the impression that self-care is an indulgence that one cannot afford when things get busy. Self-care is not self-indulgent; it is an important part of your basic health care. Just think about the airplane safety instructions, who’s oxygen mask do you put on first? Why? Because what good are you to yourself or anyone else if you a burn-out mess on the floor?

There are 5 self-care categories, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and social; By taking care of these we are better able to do the things we need to do, be that organise the household bills, pick up the kids from soccer practice, and to avoid burning out.

I want you to do the following exercise, it won’t take too long, and it is very insightful. Put pen to paper and take a few minutes to write down some things you do to recharge and put them under the most appropriate self-care category.

After you have spent a few minutes doing this, look at the items you placed under each category. Is there a category that you take better care of than another?  How often do you do these self-care activities? What categories and activities are the first to go when you get busy?

Now looking at the categories that are a little bare, what could you start doing to take better care of yourself in those areas? How often would you need to do them?

What we decide to do and how often we do it is going to be different for everyone, there is no right or wrong. The important thing is to do what works for you as often as you need, and most importantly, keep it up when things get busy, after all this is the time you need it the most.

Cant think of anything? Here are some idea to get you started!

Emotional self-care activities

  • Journaling

  • Emotional Freedom Technique

  • Meditation

  • Mindfulness

  • Counselling

  • Watching tear-jerker movies

Mental self-care activities

  • Meditation

  • Word games

  • Board games

  • Read fiction books

  • Learn something new

  • Declutter your home

Physical self-care activities

  • Exercise

  • Massage

  • Sleep and eat at regular times

  • Eat healthy meals

  • Take regular holidays

  • Seek medical attention when needed

Spiritual self-care activities

  • Gratitude journaling

  • Join a spiritual/religious community

  • Spend time in nature

  • Pray

  • Read inspirational words

  • Meditate

  • Practice forgiveness

 Social self-care activities

  • Date night

  • Family time

  • Catching up with friends,

  • Social media

  • Connect with others for nurturing and support

  • Schedule time for fun

  • Maintain boundaries

Kind regards,

                   Penelope Espinoza Hallett, Naturopath

                    BHsc (C.M.) AdvDip. Nat/N.D, Dip. Aroma, Dip. C.H., Cert. R.M., Cert. R.M., Cert. SBM, mNHAA