Self-care is a buzzword that seems to be everywhere these days. Everyone and everything seems to be reminding us that we need to prioritize self-care – but what exactly is self-care? Why does it matter? And how do we do it?
Health and wellness coach and founder of SelfCaid Wen Soon has the answers.
What is self-care?
“To me, self-care is the best way you can take care of yourself to reach the best version of yourself,” says Soon, though he notes that it’s up to each person to decide how they want to best take care of themselves – and self-care often means different things to different people.
Whether it’s taking some time each morning or evening to meditate or write in a journal, having a weekly bubble bath, doing a yoga class or spending time reading or working on a handicraft, self-care can take many forms. Try experimenting with what makes you feel cared for and at peace to see what works for you.
Why does it matter?
“In our lives, we often spend so much time taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves,” Soon says. “How can we be expected to be a good parent, employee or citizen to others if we can barely take care of ourselves? I compare it to the oxygen mask being deployed on an airplane. Put on our own masks first before assisting others.”
Small ways to practise self-care
- Mindfulness: “Take five minutes in the morning to become more sensitive to your surroundings as you do your daily tasks,” says Soon. “Notice the taste of the coffee in the morning. Pay attention to what is being said in your household. Mindfulness has been shown to have numerous health benefits, and it can be done in as little or as much time as you want.”
- Deep breaths: “During stressful situations, you’d be surprised how much deep breaths can help your body reset. Inhale seven times and exhale seven times. Repeat as often as necessary.”
Create me time: “Your own personal time is necessary to take care of yourself because many of us are selfless individuals who often put others’ needs above our own. Find small opportunities throughout your day where you can just do whatever you want.” Soon stresses that these moments don’t have to take a long time – take a few minutes here and there out of your day to just be with yourself.
Soon says he believes we should make self-care part of our everyday lifestyles, rather than just doing it when we need it.
“It can be small routines and habits that we do every day, such as brushing our teeth or even a two-minute deep breath session in the morning.”
Soon says when you’re first starting to make self-care a regular part of your routine, you may need to schedule it to make it into a long-term habit.
“My only advice is to understand that self-care does not require an immense amount of time. It really depends on the person and can be as little as a few minutes a day.”