We’re reading [and writing] a lot about self care nowadays. If you want to learn more about it. There’s plenty of books, articles, podcasts – the list goes on. But messaging on the topic can be decidedly mixed. Whilst we’re rightly encouraging everyone to engage in it. And highlighting the importance for our mental health. Self care can be still be viewed as a privilege. Usually associated with time and money. An image of a luxury begins to appear. One that is not accessible to everyone. So, how do we change the narrative?
For Why the Basics of Self Care Are Important read here.
What is Intentional Self Care?
Intentional self care is what we make of it. And how we consider it. We need to move self care from the province of the few to the many. From the realm of luxury to priority. Not as a strength; but a weakness. When we make it intentional we’re realise it’s capacity for maximizing our time, energy, motivation and productivity. And pretty much everything else. It’s about taking control of our lives. Acknowledging that intentional self care is a huge benefit
Intentional self care means consistency. And prioritization. We can no longer relegate our mental health to the end of our to do list. An act to engage in when we have time. A one off or an occasional. Self care has to be prioritized for us to maximize it’s potential. And truly reap the benefits. This means a total reframe of how we do it. Making our self care sacrosanct. Viewing it as inviolable in our diaries or calendars. We need to not only make time for it in our lives. But safeguard to ensure it happens weekly. For some, that may mean the same times each week. Others of us may be more flexible, provided we can stick to it.
For Your Self Care Routine When You Have No Free Time read here.
How to Practise Intentionally?
Intentional self care is all about making it happen. And we can think of it on the micro and macro scales. It is everything from how we care for our basic needs. Such as drinking more water, eating better, including movement or exercise and sleep hygiene practises. All the things we need to do to ensure we can get through the day. But there is so much more to this picture.
Creative Self Care
Self care is also about the way we practise our creativity. For example, writing, painting, crocheting, scrapbooking, tapestry making, decoupage, pottery, music and lyrics. The list goes on and is fairly inexhaustible. For some of us creativity may come more naturally. But we don’t need to be artistic, literary or musical to enjoy it. Adult paint by numbers, colouring in, sing aloud or journaling all enhance our creativity. We can ensure creative self care is intentional by bringing a focus to it. This doesn’t mean giving it a lot of thought or intense concentration. I enjoy creativity most when it’s relaxed and I’m out my head. Rather, thinking what you want to get out of the creative process. Is it results driven with a creative piece in mind or the pursuit of a new skill? Do you wish to escape your thoughts and see what forms?
Social Self Care
There’s also a social element here. In that, yes being around others is a good self practise. And particularly talking to someone we trust. Fulfilling that need to feel heard and connected with. The part of us that wants to be a part of something. And naturally this looks different for all of us. Some of us enjoy large groups or feed of being around others. For some of us, this is likewise true but we’ll need some downtime to refuel and recharge in between. This is likely to be true of all of us. But some of us will notice the need more. As humans we connect in all different ways. So, to make social self care truly intentional. Find what works for you and seek it out. Plan your social opportunities carefully. Have time in your diary with nothing planned? Reach out to someone and make it happen. Diary getting full one week? Book time in to spend with yourself look after your mental health.
For Why Self Care is Everyone’s Responsibility read here.
There’s also another element to social self care that we don’t discuss as much. And that’s how we curate the people around us. We’re increasingly talking about curating our social media feeds. Creating a space that fuels us. Rather than an area of comparison. We can think about our social life in the same way. Are we surrounding ourselves with people who make us feel good? Who take our mind of the hard times? Do we have people we can talk with and feel listened by? Or are certain people bringing a negative energy? Making us doubt ourselves or feel worse about who we are. It’s not punitive to set boundaries about how much time we spend with these people. Or limiting their access to us entirely by ending a relationship. It’s intentional self care to ensure that when we connect with others. We are getting what we need.
Lastly, we can think about intentional self care in terms of empowerment. When it is practised intentionally we should see a sea change in how we feel about ourselves. The prioritization of ourselves can help us grow to great acceptance of who we are. Whilst also viewing ourselves as someone worthy of investment. An ongoing project that deserves our love, care and attention. This boost in confidence is the end game of self care. And can happen the more we practise any form of it.
However, we can intentionally practise empowerment and boosting our confidence. Not only by investing in ourselves. But by setting ourselves goals and measuring progress. By exercising and engaging in movement which helps us feel strong and powerful. When we set boundaries with others and take control. When we view our lives as something in our power to design with intention. It’s amazing what can happen
What are your thoughts on intentional self care? Have you come across the idea before? How do you think it is different?