Self-care: Loving Your Body, Mind, and Soul

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball

Talking about mental health and wellness can be an uncommon topic in our conversations, but now, the pandemic has opened more doors for discussion. Leveraging on the Emotional Wellness Month campaign as the underlying topic for this article, we are going to highlight on self-care tips.

During the pre-Covid period, our definition of self-care is indulging ourselves in faraway holiday trips, luxury shopping, or even a spa treatment. But self-care is more than that, it is about prioritizing our well-being, both physically and mentally.

The stresses and uncertainties arising from the pandemic have resulted in symptoms of anxiety and depression. In one of the studies, it has shown that one in three adults has been experiencing Covid-19 related psychological distress.

Even as we go into a new month, or welcome a new day ahead, let us make a conscious effort to restore balance to our hectic lifestyles.

Loving Your Body: Feel better with Stretching Exercise

If you feel stiffness and ache in your shoulders and especially your lower back, you may want to spare at least 15 minutes to stretch your body.

Did you know that stretching is effective for stress relief? The tight and stiff muscles do not only affect you physically, but they also have a negative impact emotionally and mentally. Stretching is one of the most accessible way to destress and unwind even on your busiest day. As you stretch, the movements increase blood circulation and oxygen intake. It relieves tensions in your muscles and also releases endorphins that can uplift your mood.

The most rewarding part of this exercise is getting a good night rest. Nothing beats a refreshing morning when you wake up the next day.

Loving Your Mind: Write Something Positive to Yourself

While you are your own biggest enemy, you are also your own greatest motivation. Writing something positive to yourself, does not necessarily mean creating a motivational quote. (Well, if you can do so, why not? And live by it.) What it actually does is to help you put things into perspective. By making a deliberate action to assure yourself, you will focus on what you are good at, or what you should be thankful for. It can be as simple as telling yourself, ‘I have made a good cup of coffee. I feel good starting this day right.’ Even if the day is full of ups and downs, you will feel relatively good about yourself towards the end of the day.

You can also conduct your own positive self-talk in front of your mirror. You can say things like ‘my eyebrows are well drawn,’ or ‘my moustache is growing out in the direction I want it to be.’ These things make you feel good.

Loving Your Soul a.k.a Feeding Your Soul

This has a double meaning. It means nourishing your physical body as well as your inner self. Whether we like it or not, we have to eat. By putting in more effort into our meals, with the combination of enough nutrition and ‘happy’ food, it can do wonders for our body and soul.

The main idea behind feeding your soul is not to restrict your diet. It has to first fulfill the basic needs of what your body requires to function healthily. On the other hand, reward yourself with cheat days in between, to eat ‘happy food’ (*cough instant noodles *cough fried snacks**). Because restricting yourself is as good as guilt-tripping when you fall into temptation. But that is not what self-care means.

If you are like me who stress-eat, you will find that you no longer enjoy food. Finding balance with mindfulness eating allows you to be more self-aware, and thus gain control over your eating habits.  As you embark on this self-care journey, you will learn how to listen to your body and will naturally be kinder to yourself.

Self-care – an Ongoing Journey

Self-care is an ongoing journey that tends to your physical health and well-being. By doing it regularly, you will find a positive impact on your long-term health. As everyone has their own unique stressors, by identifying the triggers, you can manage them and adjust accordingly. After all, we are on our own when it comes to our health. That being said, keeping your loved ones and friends close to you can be part of your self-care. Especially in this pandemic, the more we have to work harder on our communications with our loved ones and friends. By being a positive person to that one person, also brightens your day. At the end of the day, the main message behind this article is telling you not to be so hard on yourself. By learning how to let go of stress in various methods, you are doing yourself a big favour.