What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term self care? Most probably your mind went to a hair cut, a facial, nail color update, maybe even a shower or a new perfume.  And while all of these a great wonderful things to do for ourselves, are they the only meaning behind self care? Over the years, the concept of self care has been limited to things revolving around hair, skin and so on...However few people talk about the fact that self-care is more than just a face mask, and how there are no limits or certain actions that define self care. It is much bigger than that. 

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We know you could be confused at this point, but trust me, we're here to unveil a lot of misconceptions that we've been handed down without a deeper understanding. So we think it's time to understand the true meaning of self care...

Self care is more than just a face mask!

First: What does self-care mean?

Like we said, the concept of self care is a broad umbrella under which there are many different aspects...

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For example, in 1983 the World Health Organization defined self care as "The ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” 

In 2003, the NHS defined it as part of everyday life. It is the concern that individuals place on their health and well-being. It includes the care given to their children, families, friends and others in neighborhoods and communities. It also includes actions of self care that individuals and caregivers do for themselves, their children, families and others to maintain good physical and mental health in order to meet social and psychological needs, preventing illness or accidents, caring for minor illnesses and chronic conditions, and maintaining health and wellness after illness or discharge from hospital."

However, mental health organizations define it as the ability of individuals to maintain their peace of mind, and make themselves happy.”

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From these previous definitions, it became clear that the concept of self care includes many aspects, including physical, psychological and mental. In fact, until this, studies on the true meaning of self care have not stopped, especially after the idea of self care gained a lot of popularity around 2015, topping Google search engines at the time. In any case, everyone agrees that self care is an individual's ability to remain physically and psychologically healthy.

Second: What are the different types of self care?

If self care means staying in good mental, psychological and physical health, then it is simply anything you can do for yourself to achieve these three goals. But if you're looking for something that makes things a little easier, here it is...

1. Emotional self care

Caring for your mental and emotional health means taking care of your feelings and emotions. This means trying to stay away from everything that hurts you, irritates you or stresses you out, and instead surrounding yourself with things that comfort you and make you feel better and happy.

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2. Physical self care

If you are striving to enhance your physical health, you to take care of your body, from choosing the right diet for you to doing the necessary regular medical examinations. It is anything you do for your body, so that it does not struggle or suffer.

3. Spiritual self care 

Personally, I believe that nurturing and caring for the soul is reflected in our physical, psychological and mental well being. You can choose what makes nurtures your soul, and work on practicing it.

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Third: How do I start taking care of myself?

I know that it might seem overwhelming now after learning that self care is a really broad term. You're probably thinking that you don't know where to start, but let me tell you that there are foundations that could help you out, if you slowly start incorporating them into your life. After that things will come a lot easier and it self care will come naturally to you, shaping itself into your lifestyle. 

1. Avoid anything dangerous or harmful to you

This is a great way to start your self care journey. This will be a good reminder for you with a lot of things. For example, if loud noise stresses you out, then do what you can to avoid it whenever you have control over your environment. If you're a smoker, you know smoking is dangerous and ruins your health, so start working towards quitting. Keep adding to your list the things in your life you know negatively affect you and work on avoiding them.

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2. Research, experiment, observe, and then self discovery

We always talk about the constant search deep within ourselves, to understand ourselves better and discover more about our personality, body and mind. It's hard to find what makes you happy if you don't look for things to try, actually experience them and then observe how they make you feel. The same goes for food, in order to know which type of food gives you more energy, you have to try different food, try it and see how your body reacts to it. 

3. Listen to your inner voice

If yoga makes you happy, that doesn't mean that it's going to make you happy everyday. As humans, our preferences change based on our mood and energy. Maybe the food that used to comfort you in the past, now disturbs your colon, and so on. So always listen to your inner voice and body. Be conscious of what is good for your in the moment. What signals are your body and mind sending you?

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Fourth: Ideas for self care:

1. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and work on correcting them.

2. Give yourself a break whenever you want, this is not a luxury.

3. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, ask for help when you need it.

4. Music makes you happy? Make a playlist with favorite songs.

5. Be alone when you want to.

6. Want a massage? Go get one now.

7. Reward yourself with a delicious meal.

8. Stay away from negative toxic people or limit the time you give them.

9. Spend time in nature.

10. Get enough sleep.

11. Pamper your skin, body and hair.

Of course, these aren't the only acts of self care out there. There are countless things you can do for yourself and the goal is to understand yourself well enough to choose what works for you and actively practice it.

Main Image Credits: Instagram @onparledemode