Self-Care Strategies for 2024
If you’ve heard more about “self-care” recently, that’s not surprising. In Singapore, the number of Google searches for self-care has been steadily rising for the past 15 years or so. Self-care is the conscious effort to reduce stress and improve our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Let’s take a look at some of the types of self-care there are.
- Physical self-care: Nutrition, sleep, regular exercise
- Personal self-care: Identity and authenticity, goals and aspirations, hobbies and interests
- Digital self-care: Cybersecurity, turning off notifications, screen-time management, starting or ending the day device-free
- Emotional self-care: Gratitude, compassion, journaling
- Social self-care: Boundaries, communication, connection
- Spiritual self-care: Time with nature, meditation, prayer
- Financial self-care: Budgeting, savings, investments
- Environmental self-care: Cleanliness, physical safety
There’s no strict time or place to practise self-care, but what’s important is that we protect the time to do it. Why? Research has shown that self-care actually increases your capacity to enjoy a higher quality of life (Posluns et Gall, 2020). This is because of the multitude of mental health benefits it has. Some examples include…
- Reduced chances of chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure
- Reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and depression
- Stronger boundaries with others, improving social relationships
With greater physical health, emotional wellness and relationships, your ability to endure challenges and recover from hardships is much faster! All these things mixed together, from having a healthy body to positive relationships, also increases your self-esteem and confidence. That’s the link between practising self-care and your mental health.
Despite knowing the benefits of self-care, it can still be difficult to start. Sometimes you feel like you’re too busy or that it’s hard to start a new habit. Sometimes you might also feel like you’re not worthy of self-care, or even feel guilty for taking the time for it. These reasons are valid and understandable, but it’s also possible to overcome them.
Ways to Start Self-Care
❤️ Be kinder to yourself
Remember, you’re only human. It’s okay to make mistakes and not always do well. To reduce that inner critic inside of your head, practise positive self-affirmations. These are statements that encourage us to develop a more optimistic and constructive mindset. Start telling yourself that you are worthy, confident, and in control. Be your own cheerleader!
🙌 Find a support system
If positive affirmations are hard to do, it’s always helpful to have a friend encourage you. Surround yourself with caring people who lift you up and make you happy. If some of your self-care practises are tough to start, consider getting a friend or family member to do it with you too. This can be a great way to increase your motivation!
⏰ Manage your time
If you’re struggling trying to find the time to practise self-care, find a way to organise your tasks. One helpful framework is S.M.A.R.T. goals. It transforms your objectives into clear and achievable tasks by making them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. When your goals are more well-defined and manageable, they can be accomplished more easily!
Posluns, K., & Gall, T. L. (2020). Dear mental health practitioners, take care of yourselves: A literature review on self-care. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 42, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-019-09382-w
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About the author Jowena:
Jowena has rich bicultural experience having grown up in the United States for over 16 years before moving back to Singapore permanently in 2014. Her professional experience expands over seven years and includes work as a behavioural therapist, associate psychologist, and assistant manager at a private counselling centre. She has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults from a variety of populations ranging from special needs to prison services.