Self-Care for Beginners
Most of us have been raised in a community where you are told to care more about other people than yourself. While this might seem like a noble thing to do, it does not always result in a good outcome.
The reason behind this belief is not entirely clear, but I think it is a mixture of many factors, such as how we are viewed by society, our religious beliefs, and the media. Regardless of the reasons, we have been taught to put other people’s well-being ahead of ours.
Nowadays, we are constantly dealing with physical and mental stress, and if we try to control this stress by taking some measurements without fully understanding the concept of self-care, we are wasting our time.
For instance, if you ever try to meditate without getting enough sleep, this practice is not going to help you in any way.
In this article, we will discuss the concept of self-care and how it’s implemented to achieve self-acceptance and well-being.
What is self-care?
Self-care is defined as any activity that may help us physically, mentally, or emotionally.
While this definition may seem very simple and straight forward, it is often difficult to determine for sure what is self-care and what is not.
One important condition that needs to be met by the activity to be part of the self-care is enjoying practicing it. If you don’t enjoy something you’re doing, it is not self-care.
For example, if you go to the gym because you want to get in better shape, but you hate every minute of it, it is not self-care. However, if you are eager for the next yoga session to start, this activity could be included in our definition.
What are some types of self-care.
There are many types of self-care, depending on your goals, but here are a few to help get you going.
The self-care activities that can strengthen you emotionally and help you reflect that aspect through your emotions.
The physical self-care relates to the tasks related to self-care that positively impact your physical health.
Mental self-care activities are the ones that stimulate your mental health or intellect.
Spiritual self-care includes the tasks and the activities that nurture your soul and spirit.
Personal self care activities helps with your personal development.
Tasks and activities that help you grow in your career, trade or job.
Why is self-care important?
Do you know what the number one risk factor for developing mental and physical disorders as well as spiritual, social, personal and professional issues? The majority of the time it is simply not caring enough about your well-being.
Giving yourself time to take a break and listen to your body’s needs is your best asset to prevent many disorders and issues.
Unfortunately, we often neglect our health, which is really sad. I mean, would you ever ignore the health of your friend or family member? No, of course not! But we often overlook the well being of ourselves to make sure everyone else is alright.
It’s time to stop worrying so much about everyone else and focus some on ourselves.
Self-care and African American females
So far, we have discussed the importance of self-care in general, and more specifically, in the mental health sector where its neglect can lead to dire consequences.
In previous articles, we covered the stigma of mental health disorders in black women in the US. We tackled how these disorders are viewed by society and how black women are objects to self-destructive behavior that is forced by society.
The same concepts apply here since black women often neglect self-care because it is viewed as a luxury activity that only people with no “real problems” practice; or you do it because it is the “religious” thing to do; however, these could be the main reasons that mental health issues are more prevalent in black women when compared to other races and ethnicities.
What are some of self-care tips?
Although these are not all of my self-care tips and tricks, here are some of the top tips I use for practicing self-care
First of all, “no” is a complete sentence
This tip applies to yourself and other people.
- Say no to activities that you don’t enjoy anymore or that make you feel less valued.
- Say no to toxic people who are always spreading bad vibes and gradually affecting you (that includes family).
- Say no to the tiny things that bother you, such as picking up the phone during mealtime.
In short, learn to say no to everything that’s making you miserable.
Get your beauty sleep
Sleep disturbances (e.g., insomnia, hypersomnia) are a common cause of mental impairment.
In a study published by the Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Disorders, researchers found that sleep deprivation is associated with a significant decrease in brain performance, concluding that “our study concentrates on small-world properties, which are disrupted in sleep deprivation. The efficiency of parallel information transfer is reduced because of global efficiency significantly increased.”
In other words, not getting enough sleep will alter the physical brain networking, leading to inefficient neuroplasticity that will make it harder for you to be creative, memorize, or think.
Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and to create a healthy sleep environment.
Yes, food is a big part of our culture (soul food, hot Cheetos, Koolaid, fast food, etc.), but the quality of your food is strictly connected to your health status. Eating healthy foods in the right portions could significantly improve your mental performance and decrease your risk of psychiatric disorders.
Chillin’ in moderation is good, but you have to get moving sis. Getting regular exercise is essential for better physical and mental health; it is considered the cheapest way to prevent a wide range of medical conditions.
Up until recently, physical activity was not an issue since most jobs in the past required a lot of moving around. Additionally, our past generations did not witness the epidemic of obesity and excessive eating.
Nowadays, we might spend an entire day sitting in front of our computer playing a game or watching a TV show like Power. At work, things are not better since most of the population has a desk job that doesn’t involve any physical activity.
For these reasons, it is essential to stay active regularly and set up a strict routine for workouts.
The benefits of moving your body surpass organicity also to influence mental health. In other words, mental health is strongly related to how much physical activity you are getting.
In a study published by the University of Stanford, regular exercise has been shown to boost the production of a hormone known as Brain-Derivative Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), which acts as the growth factor of the central nervous system.
All in all, working out regularly can significantly increase concentration, boost memory, and improve attention.
Need more self-care ideas? Read 55 Phenomenal Self-Care Ideas To Add To Your Self-Care Plan.
Is self-care about being selfish?
No! It will never be selfish to put your needs before others. There is nothing to feel bad about. You’re merely elevating your mind occasionally and de-stressing from your normal life.
A busy mom, a full-time job worker, a heavy-duty machine operator, can face anxiety. We need some time off from life and let ourselves dive deep into our self-existence. This practice will keep you sane through many stressful times in life.
Help yourself become a better you. Make self-care a priority for some time, and don’t neglect your needs over someone else.
Final thoughts on Self-care
Self-care is a neglected skill that should be mastered by all of us to decrease the risk of mental health issues and improve cognitive function.
Some races and ethnic groups are more susceptible to this problem than others, specifically African American females.
In the end, if you have ever tried doing self-care, feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.