Self-care is described as the directed involvement of one’s own body and mind that address its own special needs. In health care, self care is any desired therapeutic activity that is under individual volitional, conscious and deliberate control. It includes physical activities like bathing, dressing, meditation, walking or exercising, which foster a feeling of well being and relaxation. Other self care activities are shopping or preparing a meal, engaging in conversation, reading, watching television, listening to music or any other leisure activity, which leads one to the sense of accomplishment and thus boosts up the mood.
Self care is basically an essential component of happiness. Some researches have shown that children who are cared for by their grandparents early in their lives and have high levels of self care enjoy better psychological and physical outcomes than their peers who were not cared for by a parent or guardian. This is also true for adults, where research has shown that individuals who have high levels of social and emotional support are happier than those who do not. Self-care is also crucial for a healthy immune system and optimal health.
Self-care has three basic components: the intrinsic motivation to take action, the skill of putting it into practice and the willingness to persist when it seems that nothing is happening. The intrinsic motivation to care for oneself includes knowing and having a good understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, and the need to feel positive about self and the world around us. This helps build self-esteem, which is essential for emotional growth.
Self care skills form the basis of building an empathic bond with others. Empathy is a deep connection to another person’s experience and the ability to understand and accurately assess what they are feeling, thinking, and feeling about a specific situation. As children and young adults we always had some degree of emotional self care and this continued into adulthood and into life beyond. With a lack of emotional self care many people find themselves becoming depressed and lacking the drive and motivation to continue on their path. However, by working on our own emotional development we can learn to care for others without being affected by negativity or stress.
The third component of self-care is to be willing to put in the effort to care for ourselves. The first step is to establish a routine of care that can then be maintained as a routine throughout life. Taking care of yourself emotionally is an ongoing process that doesn’t end once we reach the age of majority or have fully functioning cognitive abilities. Emotional growth must be an ongoing and conscious activity. We must learn to identify the emotions we are feeling and work to support those emotions through appropriate expression.
What is self-care? It is the conscious arrangement for caring for one’s self in the face of increasing emotional demands and challenges. It is an ongoing process that helps maintain emotional health and wellness. Through appropriate expression of our own emotions and the skills and resources that are available to us, we can find a sense of emotional freedom and a greater sense of personal fulfillment.