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Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Self-care is a term used to describe anything that you do to help yourself nourish the daily energy you have spent towards activities and tasks. In other words, its about being kind to yourself and recognizing when you are running low on resources and letting the effects of stress become overwhelming.

“Stress [and emotional pain] is a reaction, either real or imagined, to a situation, events, or people. The most common triggers of stress are some kind of loss –the loss of, or change in a relationship, the loss of another person, or the loss of stability associated with change”. – Vancouver Crisis Center

Stress can lead to changes in your body (tension, headaches, stomached, sleep difficulties, etc.), changes in your actions (withdrawing from others, substance use, constant chatter, short temper, fidgeting, etc.), changes in your emotions (loneliness, depression, confusion, irritability, etc.), and changes in your thinking (trouble concentrating, lost self-confidence, negative self-talk, poor judgement, etc.). Thus it is important to incorporate self-care into your routines.

With this said, self-care is not adding more things to your “to-do” list but rather identifying your essential needs and prioritizing them. Self-care is about creating behaviours or healthy habits that nurture yourself in order to give your best and provide value to the world by having the energy to live your purpose.

*** Please note self-care is a personal journey and each day life is changing. It is important to continuously look after yourself and reflect on your health and wellbeing. ***

Types of Self-Care


Sensory self-care is all about helping to calm your mind. When you think about practicing sensory self-care, consider all of your senses: touch, smell, sound, and sight. Most people are more responsive to one than the others, so ask yourself what that sense might be for you.




Sensory Self-Care Ideas

· Cuddling up under a soft blanket.
· Going to the countryside and focusing on the smell of the air.
· Watching the flames of a candle or a fire.
· Feeling the water on your skin during a hot bath or shower.
· Focusing on the movements of your own breathing
· Lying down and listening to music with your eyes closed.
· Sitting in the heat of the afternoon sun.
· Having a small square of the most delicious chocolate.
· Walking barefoot in the grass.
· Having a massage with essential oils.
· Holding a pet in your arms.


Emotions are not “good” or “bad” in themselves. They are how you feel, and that’s okay. When it comes to your emotional health, one of the best self-care tips is to make sure you fully engage with your emotions. When you face them head-on, this actually helps with stress.




Emotional Self-Care Ideas

· Keep a daily journal, and be totally honest about your feelings.
· See a therapist, even if it’s just for 8-10 sessions of general personal development.
· Write a list of “feeling words” to expand your emotional vocabulary.
· Make time to be with a friend or family member who truly understands you.
· Let yourself cry when you need to.
· Deliberately encourage yourself to laugh with old memories or funny videos.
· Sing along to the song that best expresses your current emotions.

Spiritual self-care is about getting in touch with your values and what really matters to you. It is about developing a sense of purpose. Here are some versatile examples that can help you with this






Spiritual Self-Care Ideas

· Keep up a daily meditation or mindfulness practice.
· Attend a service, whether it is religious or humanistic.
· Read poetry.
· Walk in nature and reflecting on the beauty around you.
· Make a daily list of 5-10 things that make you feel grateful.
· Be creative, whether through art, music, writing or something else entirely.
· Make a list of 5-10 things that make you feel alive, then ask yourself how you can better incorporate these things into your life.
· Say affirmations that ground your sense of self and purpose.
· Go on a trip with the sole purpose of photographing things that inspire you.


Physical activity is vital not only for your bodily well-being but also for helping you release tension. Also, physical self-care is not the act of going to the gym but bringing movement to your life in many form.

In addition, remember that physical self-care is also about the things you don’t do such as:
       1. Nap when you need to. Just 20 minutes can make you        feel mentally and physically refreshed.
       2. Say “no” to invitations when you’re simply too tired to            enjoy them.
       3. Don’t push yourself to do your exercise routine when        you’re run down or unwell.
       4. Commit to 7-9 hours of sleep per night, barring ·                      exceptional circumstances.

Physical Self-Care Ideas

· Dance to your favourite songs
· Do yoga. Even if you’ve never tried it, there are poses that are perfect for beginners.
· Join a class and learn a new sport.
· Go running with your dog (or a friend’s)!
· Cycle through the countryside.
· Simply go for a walk
· Go swimming
· Get up and stretch after sitting for long period
· Take up kick-boxing. A great way to release built-up energy!
· Eating nourishing foods




Connecting with other people is necessary for happiness and will look different for everyone. It helps you to understand that you’re not alone. Plus, it can also give us a sense of being fully “seen” by others. This can, in particular, help us combat loneliness and isolation. Social self-care isn’t about just doing things with others for the sake of it, but about choosing to do things with people who really make you feel good.




Social Self-Care Ideas

· Make a date to have lunch or dinner with a great friend.
· Consider joining an organization you can volunteer with
· Write an email to someone who lives far away, but who you miss.
· Reach out to someone you like but haven’t seen in a while.
· Consider joining a group of people who share your interests.
· Stop socializing with those who undermine or disempower you.
· Strike up a conversation with someone interesting.
· Join a support group for people who struggle with the same things you do.
· Sign up for a class to learn something and meet new people at the same time.

Reflection Questions:

    • What does self-care mean to you?

    • How do you currently take care of yourself?

    • What self-care practice(s) can you incorporate into your life today?