When it comes to self-care it easy to pressurize ourselves. Whether it’s struggling to find the time for self-care. Or opting to put our feet up and relax instead of pursuing more creative or active pastimes. Too tired to engage with anything else. It can feel like self-care is one more thing we have to, or need to do. At times, when life feels this way maybe it’s a sign that we need to scale back and re-engage with self-care in a different way.
For Why Self-Care Isn’t Just a Bubble Bath read here.
We can take it back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Sometimes, when times are hard or stress is high, we need to return to our more basic needs. Once we have engaged with, and met, them, we can take the next step for higher levels of self-care. The first set of needs we must check-in with are our physiological needs. Are we eating enough to sustain our energy levels? And meet our dietary needs? Have we drunk enough? What’s our sleep like? Are we getting enough and what’s the quality like? When we are having a hard time or are going through a stressful or busy patch. We can let go of these needs temporarily making it the best way to kickstart self-care.
We can take these more basic needs for granted. It’s right there in the way we talk about them – basic. Yes, they are simple. And most of them we may do by rote. Or not give much thought to. They’re often ones we hear about as kids. The ones we know are good for our physical wellbeing. Yet, it’s easy to forget that these are vital to our mental health too. They’re the cornerstone on which we build the foundation of other forms of self-care.
Why the Basics?
Firstly, and perhaps mostly obviously, they ensure our physical and mental health. We all know that eating the right things, drinking enough, having adequate sleep and seeing to our basic hygiene are vital. Our bodies rely on these to get them through the day. Without them, all the self-care in the world will be a drop in the ocean. Secondly, these key actions provide a rhythm to our days making the routine grounding and providing a feeling of safety. They can also give us a feeling of success. When we are at our lowest or our most anxious; meeting these basic needs may be all we can manage. But doing them are achievements. We shouldn’t forget their value.
For A Guide to Prioritizing Self-Care read here.
Next Steps to Self-Care
Once we’re looking after our most basic needs, we can engage with further forms of self-care. The next step on Maslow’s hierarchy focus on feelings of safety or security. This may mean investing in ourselves and our skill set in order to secure job security or new work opportunities. Or other resources to secure income to live in a place where we feel safe. Then a feeling of belonging, or perhaps intimacy, follows. The human need to be part of a community and feeling connected to and with in a way that is right for us. This may mean building our support networks. Reaching out to friends and family to socialize or feel supported, connected with and listened to. We know how important talking can be for our mental health. And having a varied support network can include those we know professionally and personally.
The penultimate step focuses on how we feel about ourselves and how we relate to others. We may wish to ask ourselves which people and activities make us feel good. Engaging with those who respect us rather than leaving us feeling judged is important to our sense of self and identity. Likewise, engaging in activities that build us up rather than tear us down and cause doubt. And lastly, self-actualization, the ability to be who we want to be. When we are engaging with the other needs in the hierarchy our motivation will increase with each step. As will our mental health as we care for ourselves in the different aspects of our lives. This puts us in the best position to fulfil our potential; whatever that may mean for us.
What are your thoughts on basic self-care? How do they fit in with your self-care routines? And do you find they make it easier to engage with other kinds of self-care?