Let’s start with a literal definition. Self Care = Care of Self.
Care: According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it is the “process of providing for the needs of someone or something”.
Self: We commonly know that self is our own being or personality – who we are as individuals.
Therefore, we can interpret the definition of Self-Care to be the act or process of providing for the needs of our individual being.
Now that we have our starting point, let’s consider all the options.
Our one individual being is made up of three key components: our mind, body and spirit. It is possible to define Self-Care practices that feed our whole being in one activity. Kudos for being super efficient! However, we also need to remember that not all needs are equal.
Self-Care for the Body may be the easiest concept to pin down. Strength Training. Fitness. Massage. Preventive Healthcare. Dancing. Getting a Haircut. Shopping for a new outfit. Bubble Bath. Each of these acts honors and supports our physical well-being.
- Physical activity allows us to stay healthy.
- Pampering ensures we look our best.
- Relaxation of the body minimizes the impacts of daily stress.
Self-Care for the Spirit brings in the next level. If we approach this in the most direct fashion, we might nourish the spirit through our religious practices. Yet… there is another way to look at spiritual care. Our Spirit is the very essence of who we are. It is our state of mind, attitude and energy level. When we look at it that way, the activities that support this side of our being are a little different: Connecting with Family. Quiet moments by the Sea. Watching the Sun rise. Meditation. Music. And yes… reading Scripture. Any of these activities allows us to replenish the soul and prepare the spirit for another day of giving to those around us.
Self-Care for the Mind is the most complex. Our brain is our thought processor. We manage millions of thoughts, ideas, calculations, and plans in our waking and sleeping moments. Have you ever woken from a dream with an amazing business idea, or the solution to a personal dilemma? The mind is always working and never truly takes any time off! Therefore, care here means giving it what it truly needs… more information. New Business Concepts. Theory and Philosophy. Science Fiction. Algebra. Research. By enhancing our database of personal knowledge, we nourish the mind and provide it the tools necessary to support its counterparts (Body and Spirit).
So, how do we get efficient at this? Are there activities that will provide care for us as one individual being, with all our many parts and needs? Yes!
Dance. Taking ballroom dancing lessons can be an amazing way to give back to your whole self.
- Body – Dance will help you get reacquainted with muscles your forgot you had, and that’s not just the fast dances! The waltz is one of the most Self-Care for the Body physically demanding dances, believe it or not. Combining strict posture, careful balance and continuous movement will leave you a sweaty and energized mess in less time than it takes to walk around the block.
- Spirit – The music required will speak to your soul. It may soothe or excite, depending on tempo, but it will always inspire feelings. Personal connection is another key benefit. If you are dancing with a known partner, this will deepen your bond and trust — you will learn to communicate without words. If you are going solo in a social group class, you will meet many new faces as you switch partners throughout a lesson.
- Mind – There is no doubt your mind will be equally frustrated (don’t worry, it’s temporary) and fully engaged. You start out learning steps and counting beats. Then, you transition into muscle memory and playing the ‘which dance is right for this song’ game.
This is just one example. Here are more ideas that may fit your routine, some of which may not be the most conventional when we think of Self-Care… Join a community softball league. Plan a training meeting for work. Tackle a home renovation project. Help your child with their Science Fair project. Train your dog (or cat, but good luck there!). Take an architectural tour of a nearby city. Take a cooking class with your partner. The options are quite diverse: some being work-related, some social. Yet, they all share the common thread of total engagement.
As you consider your next moment of Self-Care, remember that it isn’t just about indulging in wine, chocolate and a bubble bath (although that sounds really good!). It is all about YOU, and doing things that positively impact your entire life… one valuable moment at a time.