Self-care is a word that you will hear thrown around a lot. Why should you care about looking after yourself?
When you were a child, your parents were responsible for looking after you. They made sure that you slept enough, ate a healthy diet, spent time outside, and got to play with friends.
Your parents will still probably offer you guidance on how to keep yourself healthy and happy but give you more leeway with bedtimes and how you spend your free time.
What they are teaching you is that as the years go by you will need to learn to live with the consequences of your actions. As you reach adulthood and move away from home, your lifestyle will be up to you. If you don’t look after yourself, no one can make you.
That may sound like a dream come true or it may scare you a little.
Looking after my own well-being
If you realize that self-care may require a little more thought and practice, reflect on the following:
- What happens if you take more responsibility for your life and well-being?
- What happens if you avoid taking responsibility for your life and well-being?
You will probably realize that opportunities are more likely to present themselves if you take care of yourself.
If looking after yourself feels difficult, practice doing something even if you don’t feel like doing it. You may surprise yourself and find joy in performing those activities. And even if you don’t, you may be able to relish the fact that you did it anyway and enjoy the end result.
Learn to find joy in small things. Self-care is mostly about having healthy habits and routines. Doing things that are not very exciting and not worth posting on social media. Going to bed in time, brushing your teeth, and getting up and moving about in-between study sessions may not look like a lot at the moment. However, all those little healthy habits put together can determine how your adult life will look like.
This self-care booklet from Anna Freud Center may help you look after yourself.
Matleena Vanhanen is a licensed Counselling Psychologist with over 20 years of experience working in Europe and the Middle East. She has a practice of couples and individual therapy at the MapleTree Center in Dubai.