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Oct. 12, 2020

A television show may have brought the idea of “Treat Yo Self” to the mainstream, but taking care of yourself should be on your to-do list every day. Self-care is important because it can boost your confidence and improve your health. It reminds others that you are important as well. 

“Self-care is important because it allows you to be able to take control of your well-being, and it also gives you the ability to figure out what it takes to be the best version of yourself,” says Dorthea Lewis, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina health coach. 

Everyone is busy, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to not take care of yourself, she says.  

Self-care is any action you can take to meet your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual needs. Self-care looks different for everyone. 

To get started, spend some time thinking about the things you want out of life and what makes you happy. When Lewis talks with people, she encourages them to make a vision board or sketch out a list of goals. Think about where you are now and where you want to be. What makes life important? What are you are called to do? 

“It is so important to tap into what makes all of this important to us in the first place,” Lewis says. 

Think about this on a daily basis, not just on Treat Yo Self Day, which is Oct. 13. Make self-care a part of your proactive, daily effort. 

“We have to be committed to making an effort because only you can be your best advocate,” she says. “You know yourself better than anybody else. You live in your body for x amount of years, and it's important that you listen to you — body, mind and soul.” 

Often people think they are too busy to make time for self-care. But remember what flight attendants say: Put on your own oxygen mask before putting on a mask for others. Taking time to care for yourself is also good behavior to model for your children and loved ones. 

“It's important for us to be able to care for ourselves so that we can care for others,” Lewis says. “There’s only one you. If you aren’t here, who will take care of the people you care for?” 

During the pandemic, more people are reporting adverse mental health or behavioral changes, such as drinking or drug use. This makes self-care even more important. 

“There's always going to be some unexpected thing that occur in our lives. It just so happens that in 2020, it’s a pandemic,” she says. “But if we look over our life journey, I'm pretty sure we can recall at least one other unexpected thing that has happened. It's important not only during the pandemic but every day for us to think about ways to be able to address our well-being and be flexible in stressful situations so that you can meet your needs.”  

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that being around people we care about is important. Find a support system that will help you prioritize self-care. 

“We're not in this alone. We are meant to be supportive of each other,” Lewis says. “It's important to seek out others that have the same type of mindset as you and have a positive mindset to help you move forward.”

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How to Get Started With Self-Care

A few basics to remember about self-care: 

  • Holistic approach: Consider your mind, body and soul. 
  • Find support: Seek help from those who care about you and want you to be well. 
  • Stay positive: Getting help from people who will be positive for you is important, but you also have to believe in yourself. 
  • Practice daily: Don’t just worry about your well-being in times of crisis or on a specific day. Set aside time for yourself every day. 
  • Think small: Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or lofty. It can be a few minutes of meditation in the morning or taking time to practice good hygiene.  
  • Be grateful: It can be easy to get caught up in what you don’t have or how far you think you need to go to be the best version of yourself, but taking time to appreciate the good in your life is also important on a daily basis. 
  • Find resources: Reach out to your health insurance plan to find out what resources are available to you such as an employee assistance plan or other plan benefits. There are also plenty of resources in your local community that can help. 
  • Reevaluate regularly: Our lives change all the time and so will your goals. Be sure to frequently reevaluate where you are and where you want to be. 
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Mind

  • Meditate. Meditation doesn’t require you to sit still for hours. You can take one minute every morning or every night to refocus your breathing and stay centered. You can follow our one-minute guided meditation below.
  • Sleep. Getting the right amount of sleep is key for overall health. Sleep improves your mind and body. 
  • Create a vision board. Map out where you are and where you want to be. Find a way to think about these goals every day and plan out how you are going to achieve them each day. 
  • Stimulate your mind. Maybe this is through reading or doing puzzles. Maybe it’s adult coloring books. Do something every day to challenge your brain. 
  • Disconnect. Turning off your phone or devices can help you reconnect with yourself and your loved ones. Taking the time to turn off the distraction can be a great way to care for yourself mentally. 

Spirit

  • Consider the big “Why.” Why is your life important? Why do you want to be the best version of yourself? 
  • Seek out positivity. Surround yourself with people who are positive and seek a positive environment. If you are in a situation that keeps you down, work to get out of that environment. 
  • Give back. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to be kind to others. Be trustworthy and dependable. 
  • Accept yourself. Be at peace with where you are. Don’t be too harsh or critical of yourself. Love yourself every day.  
  • Show love. It is important to show unconditional love to yourself and others daily. 

Body

  • Eat healthy and nutritious food. If this seems too difficult, start small by eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily. 
  • Drink water. Our bodies need water to function. Skip the sugary drinks and make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. 
  • Get moving. You don’t have to immediately train to run a marathon. You can start small by walking farther distances and slowly increasing the number of steps you take each day. 
  • See your doctor regularly and take medication as recommended. Taking care of your body requires you to seek the care you need medically. 
  • Get vaccinated. Make sure you get an annual flu shot and are up-to-date on your vaccines

 

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