Female in light blue and black journaling while listening to music.

I am sure you have heard the term self-care before, but what does it actually involve, and what does self-care look like for you?

As we head into the festive season filled with family time, fantastic braais, exciting travel plans and holiday gifting, we need to consider how we can genuinely reboot and revitalise before we enter the new year, filled with new and exciting challenges. Although these activities might seem like the recipe for a good holiday, they might not meet our specific needs or fill our metaphorical well-being cup.

Is there a self-care recipe that guarantees a filled cup?

First, we must accept that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and figuring out what self-care means to each of us will be the real challenge.

At its core, self-care is about ensuring that you care for not just your physical health but your mental and emotional needs as well. It is so much more than a spa day or a relaxing bath- it’s about figuring out what nourishes you and learning to incorporate these activities into your daily life or utilising them to reset your mind and body.

Like developing a recipe, self-care is finding the right ingredients to suit your unique needs and preferences. Everyone has responsibilities, but finding time for yourself is more important than ever in the fast-paced, demanding world in which we function. Fostering resilience and a healthy outlook will keep you positive and equip you with the ability to deal with any challenges you may face effectively.

For instance, the festive season includes much more family time. Although it might be emotionally fulfilling and ever so fun- this can be an overwhelming and tiring experience for some. There is no reason to feel guilty about needing some quiet time or extra TLC because how can we expect to fill the cups of others without filling our own cups first?

How do we even get started with self-care?

The first step is to acknowledge that self-care is not self-indulgent or selfish; it is rather an investment in yourself and the future you envisage. Coming up with a comprehensive self-care plan can be pretty daunting, so the first step is reflecting on your current needs and breaking down those needs into smaller, more reasonable, and achievable goals.

We can then move on to incorporating basic practices- if your goal is getting in a workout tomorrow, what could we do today to set us on the right path? We could set out our gym clothes, research a workout that interests us and ensure we get to bed early. These all count as intentional practices to set yourself up for success.

We are not quite done yet- the final step is enjoying the journey itself; you should continue searching for new experiences and ensure that you allow yourself to grow and adapt to the changing circumstances that life throws at you. Monitor your mental and physical well-being and reflect on how you can stay on track.

Making self-care sustainable

So, you’ve begun to incorporate these small, meaningful changes into your self-care routine, but how do you keep it going now that the new year has started?

To start, we can take the time to celebrate the progress we have already made and set clear and realistic goals empowered by these successes.

Ensuring longevity on your self-care journey could also include setting healthy boundaries with yourself: not allowing yourself to get into a cycle of self-doubt and negative self-talk. Allow yourself to be present in a moment wherein you are not your biggest critic.

Finally, remember that your unique outlook and circumstances inspire this journey; you are equipping yourself with the resilience to tackle an ever-evolving world.

So, how are you filling your cup this festive season?

Sources of Inspiration:

Alaoui, M. (2017, May 8). How to take care of your Mind, Body, Heart and Soul. Medium.

Brown, B. (2023, May 3). What Does Self-Care Actually Look Like?. Modern Manifestation. https://www.themodernmanifestation.com/post/what-is-self-care

Hadeed, K (2023, August 22). The new meaning of self-care. https://www.kristenhadeed.com/blog/the-new-meaning-of-self-care

Kulkarni, A. (2019, May 14). What is self-care? My Mind Oasis.

Lawler, M. (2023, March 17). What Is Self-Care, and Why Is It So Important for Your Health?. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/self-care/

Lawler, M (2022, August 26). How to Start a Self-Care Routine You’ll Follow. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/self-care/start-a-self-care-routine/#tips-for-coping-in-uncertain-times

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