Determining Your Self-Care Focus

Before I started blogging I never knew that self-care could be placed in categories. In fact, I thought self-care were just spa day activities (massages, facials, pedicures/manicures and the like), but if you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, then you probably already know that I write about self-care being so much more than that. It’s really what you make it and what you need when you need it. It’s been a while since I’ve talked about it but I created a self-care formula months ago to address how we should approach self-care. My purpose for creating the formula was to help my readers make time for self-care. I did this by trying to look at self-care as an ACT. I wanted my readers to build the Awareness around self-care. Meaning, you have to know that you need it. The saying is true “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” so in order to take care of others you have to take care of yourself first. If you intend to see change you can’t engage in any activity once, you have to keep at it, you have to remain Consistent. Therefore, if you want to see (or reap) the benefits of your self-care labor, you have to remain consistent with it. Finally, Time. You have to make time for self-care. In fact, in my most recent blog post I stated that if you can’t take time for self-care, you have to make time for self-care. Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes, it doesn’t have to be an all day event. Building the Awareness around self-care + staying Consistent with self-care + plus making Time= the ACT.

I’ve learned so much over the course of the past several months in terms of what self-care entails. Sometimes it’s reading a chapter in your book, journaling, sitting in silence, not responding to a text or an email, going to bed early, staying in your pajamas all day, planning your day, spending time with someone you love, doing your skincare routine, or cooking your favorite meal. Let go of the notion that self-care means you have to schedule a spa day or mani/pedi. It can be those things but it’s not only those things. Self-care is giving your body what it needs, when it needs it. It’s any act or behavior that makes you feel good about yourself. It will look different for everyone and it can be internal or external. This is in fact my goal with the self-care challenge blogs that I post on Sundays. I try to make the options versatile, unique, and creative. I literally try to think outside the box and my hope is that something I post will resonate with your character because we are all different.

I’ve always categorized self-care as emotional self-care or physical self-care. I define emotional self-care as activities such as mindfulness practices, breathing exercises, journaling and therapy. Physical self-care activities are massages, exercising, sex, skincare routine, and mani/pedis. But self-care falls under several other categories. In fact, according to the site The Blissful Mind, there are seven pillars of self-care.

  • PILLAR 1: MENTAL-cultivating a healthy mindset through mindfulness and curiosity.
    • Some of my past self-care challenge ideas that fall under this pillar:
      • Meditation
      • Brain dump (a form of journaling)
      • Sitting in silence
      • Positive self-talk
  • PILLAR 2: EMOTIONAL-taking care of your heart with healthy coping strategies.
    • Some of my past self-care challenge ideas that fall under this pillar:
      • Therapy
      • Breathing exercises
      • Journaling
      • Taking regular breaks from work
  • PILLAR 3: PHYSICAL-taking care of your body with exercise, nutrition, and proper sleep.
    • Some of my past self-care challenge ideas that fall under this pillar:
      • Eating a carb less meal
      • Exercising
      • Massages
      • Sleeping in
  • PILLAR 4: ENVIRONMENTAL-taking care of the spaces and places around you.
    • Some of my past self-care challenge ideas that fall under this pillar:
      • Starting a garden or buying a plant
      • Donating to charity/Giving back
      • Volunteering
      • Tossing out expired products
  • PILLAR 5: SPIRITUAL-practices and activities that give a sense of meaning to your life.
    • Some of my past self-care challenge ideas that fall under this pillar:
      • Journaling daily
      • Shower meditation
      • Writing a love letter to yourself
      • Writing a letter to yourself explaining why you’re uniquely you
  • PILLAR 6: RECREATIONAL-making time for hobbies, fun activities, and new experiences.
    • Some of my past self-care challenge ideas that fall under this pillar:
      • Spending time with family
      • Try something new
      • Mani/Pedi
      • Do something artistic
      • Going for a walk
  • PILLAR 7: SOCIAL-building relationships with regular connections and healthy boundaries.
    • Some of my past self-care challenge ideas that fall under this pillar:
      • Have FaceTime coffee/tea date with an old friend
      • Spending time with a loved one
      • Treating a loved one (doesn’t have to be monetary)
      • Setting healthy boundaries

Finding your self-care focus entails paying attention to the way you feel and what resonates with you when you do it. I posted a testimonial earlier in this post where someone pointed out that a clean house and clean laundry is their form of self-care because they can’t relax with a messy house. For most people that would be considered a chore but is it really a chore if the end result is beneficial to your overall well-being? Think about it. One of my many goals is to always get you to look at everything you do through a self-care lens. To determine your self-care focus, revisit the pillars above and look at the activity that I placed under each. Which one sounds more like you? Keep in mind you may fall under more than one category. Once you determine your pillar, it’s up to you to engage in the self-care act that’s in line with that category, while being open to other options under each pillar because change is good.

Self-care is not only categorized under the various pillars they are also in line with the Love Languages. At the beginning of the year I talked about centering my self-care challenges under the different pillars of the love languages:

  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Words of Affirmations
  • Physical Touch
  • Giving Gifts

Similar to the pillars above, the purpose behind this approach was to help you determine your own personal self-care love language(s). For the month of the January the focus was Quality Time, this month’s focus is Acts of Service. Determining a category is not a requirement that’s set in stone but it will help you focus more on the ACT that works best for you. If I post a self-care challenge about throwing out expired products or buying a plant, for some people those two activities may not feel like self-care at all and that’s completely acceptable. The opposite is true, massages and facials may not do anything for some of you and that is also acceptable. I do hope that the information I shared has allowed you to look at self-care from a variety of angles and opportunities, and not just from the view that seems to be most popular in our society. When it comes to your well-being step outside of the societal box. What matters most is what works best for you and that’s your version of self-care.

Recently the blogger from reached out and asked if I wanted to be featured on her blog along with nine other self-care bloggers. She wanted our input on How to Practice Self-Care When You’re Busy. See what we all had to share HERE.

Let’s Chat!

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  • Instagram: @selfcareatforty
  • Twitter: @playingblogger and @naturaldo
  • Pinterest: @tam33ks

Published by tam33ks

I have a long history with mental illness. Overcoming depression made me realize my own resilience. It also made it clear that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I believe that in order for us to fully engage with ourselves and others we have to make time for self-love through our self-care habits. My goal with this blog is to encourage women in my age group to make time for self-care daily.

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