What is Self Care?
By Jane Macnaught, Breaking Free Editor
Self care means looking after yourself - treating yourself as a person who deserves care.
Many adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse find self care very challenging. Many traumatised children grow to adulthood believing that they do not deserve love, care or warmth.
Survivors who learn to practice self care can develop a new way of perceiving themselves – as someone who has the right to feel comfortable, safe and worthwhile. Many survivors are coping with the burden of the past, feel anxious about the future and can find the present overwhelming. By finding ways to care for yourself, you can find ways to live in the present, and enjoy the moment. This in turn promotes emotional and psychological health. Acts of self-care can short-circuit spirals of distress, anger or shame. Good self-care improved an improve our mood and reduce anxiety, as well as foster a good relationship with ourselves and others to help us live a balanced life.
You Have Permission
Self-care involves very simple, day-to-day acts - small actions you can practice when you feel the need or regularly to keep you feeling good.
Some think of self care as pampering like massages, pedicures and holidays. Pampering provides a break from hectic lifestyles. In this article, however we are exploring self care strategies which can be readily accessed to become part of our lifestyle. Actions around self care can have a positive impact on your body, mind, mood, soul and on every day life.
You may actually already practice a number of self caring actions without realising. Self care can simply consist of good habits. You may choose to create a “no” list, of things you know you don’t like or you no longer want to do. One way of exploring your own self care practice is to record the following 7 categories and make notes against them as to what actions you can take for each of them. You might be forgetting some aspects of your self care, and this exercise helps you focus and create more balance.
· Physical self-care
· Emotional self-care
· Spiritual self-care (nature, awe, rituals)
· Intellectual self-care (creativity, career etc)
· Social self-care (outside family)
· Relational self-care (significant others)
· Safety & security self-care
We all make excuses which can prevent us from giving ourselves permission to practice more self care - time, money, competing priorities, putting others first, tired, depressed and so on… You have permission to prioritise your own well being. If these words are not enough to encourage you then here are a few quotes that may inspire you:
Self Care Quotes
“Solitude is where I place my chaos to rest and awaken my inner peace.” – Nikki Rowe
“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Steve Maraboli
“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley
“Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, colour, sounds, and work that nourish you.” – Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy
“How we care for ourselves gives our brain messages that shape our self-worth so we must care for ourselves in every way, every day.” – Sam Owen
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” – Audre Lorde
“It's not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It's necessary.” – Mandy Hale
“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” – Kim McMillen
“Put yourself at the top of your to-do list every single day and the rest will fall into place.” – Unknown
“With every act of self-care your authentic self gets stronger, and the critical, fearful mind gets weaker. Every act of self-care is a powerful declaration: I am on my side, I am on my side, each day I am more and more on my own side.” – Susan Weiss Berry
“One of the best ways you can fight discrimination is by taking good care of yourself. Your survival is not just important; it's an act of revolution.” – DaShanne Stokes
Self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.” - Agnes Wainman
“There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.” – Brian Andreas
Share Your Ideas
What’s on your self care list? We would love to hear some of your practices – something you’ve discovered recently, or an old favourite – please share these with us. If you can’t come up with any ideas we hope that you continue to read the Breaking Free newsletters for the ideas that we generate from our Blue Knot community.
In preparing this article we referred to the following: