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What Does 'Self-Care' Really Mean?

Self-care is a vital aspect of our lives, but it is often neglected in the hustle and bustle of our daily routines. We are constantly under pressure to meet deadlines, achieve goals, and keep up with our social lives, leaving us with little time to care for ourselves. However, self-care is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

The concept of self-care is not restricted to spa days or luxurious vacations; it can be as simple as taking a few minutes out of your day to breathe or appreciate the world around you. Self-care can often be thought of as an expensive or completely zen activity, but there are many ways you can take care of yourself that will help improve your mental health. Read on to discover ways you can incorporate self-care into your everyday routine.

1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an excellent way to practice self-care as it allows you to be present in the moment and appreciate the little things in life. Meditation and grounding techniques can help you calm your mind and center yourself, providing you with much-needed peace of mind. Taking a moment to notice the new flowers, the birds singing in the trees, or the amazing flavor of your coffee. Meditation allows our brains to take a break, focus on our

breathing, to center ourselves in the moment. Grounding techniques allow us to ground ourselves in the here and now, and to stop the barrage of what could be or should be that is running through our minds.

2. Boundaries This one may surprise you, but boundaries can play a huge role in self-care. When we don't have healthy boundaries with others and even ourselves, we can often feel overwhelmed, taken for granted, or resentful. Boundaries can mean saying no to someone when your plate is already full. It can mean not answering a text or social media message when you really need rest. Most importantly, it means creating lines that you are not willing to cross and expecting others to honor them.

3. Exercise

This one is simple to say, but so often hard to set time aside to do. When you exercise

you lower your stress-producing hormones, you allow serotonin (a happy body-produced

chemical) to be released and your lower the chances of dealing with depression, anxiety, and a

low sense of self-worth. Generally, most people just feel better after exercise, and thankfully at CSDS, dance is a great way to do just that!

4. Personal Hygiene

This one may sound odd in the list, but personal hygiene is an important part of taking care of yourself. We all have had those days where just the simple act of getting in the shower seems overwhelming. We put it off, we grumble about it, but when we actually finish we often feel better. The same can go for painting your nails, putting on a face mask, or doing your hair or makeup. When we take time to do these simple tasks it often will give us a small boost of self-confidence or at least make us feel a little better!

5. Rest Rest is a vital part of self-care, and it is essential to ensure that you get enough sleep and take breaks when needed. It can be challenging to make time for rest, but it is crucial for your well-being. For many, rest is looked at as a weakness or sometimes even laziness. Your ability to rest when needed directly correlates to your ability to manage all things. Rest doesn't just mean taking a nap -can mean many things! It can mean going to bed a little earlier, sleeping the recommended 7-9 hours, or simply just taking a few moments to breathe when you are overwhelmed. It can mean putting off the dishes till tomorrow and laughing with family, or having a weekend where you plan little to nothing and just lounge and watch tv.

6. Cleaning

Surprisingly, cleaning can also be therapeutic and help you clear your mind by decluttering your surroundings. When we clean up cluttered spaces around us, we ourselves can feel less cluttered. Cleaning can be therapeutic, just put some music on and dance and clean your heart out.

7. Routines

Finally, creating routines can help you manage your time effectively, reducing stress and anxiety - which is a great way to feel better mentally. Whether it is a routine for your entire day or just specific times of the day, it can help you prioritize tasks and make them seem more manageable. The need for routines can look different for everyone. Some may need a routine for every part of their day, and others for just the more rushed times such as morning or evening. You determine what you need.

In conclusion, self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity for a healthy and happy life. It does not have to be expensive or time-consuming, but it does require prioritizing your needs and taking care of yourself mentally and physically. Incorporating mindfulness, boundaries, exercise, personal hygiene, rest, cleaning, and routines into your daily routine can make a significant difference in your life. So take some time for yourself today and practice self-care.

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