“Self-Care” has become a buzzword in current times, but what exactly does it mean? When you picture someone indulging in self-care, you might imagine them taking a soothing bath at the end of a long day, buying themselves a treat, or pampering themselves in some way. But is that what self-care really is, or is there something more to it ー and is it something that we “indulge” in (implying that it’s desired and pleasurable yet unnecessary), or is it actually something that we should engage in regularly as an indispensable part of our individual and collective well-being?
In understanding what self-care truly is, we must dispel the misconceptions about what it isn't. Self-care isn't about being selfish: it's about taking responsibility for one's own well-being, by exercising behaviors that actively help to manage the healthy state of the mind, body, and soul. This can be through physical practices like exercise and good food choices, getting quality sleep, and staying on top of dental care. Or it can be practiced mentally and emotionally, by understanding and respecting our own needs, setting boundaries that ensure these needs can be met, and paying attention to the way we think, act and feel, so that we can take more control in showing up in the world more authentically. Doing so doesn't only help boost your own happiness, but it affects that of others too ー in your own community, as well as our global society.
Emotional intelligence is a gauge of someone’s ability to regulate their emotions. Just as we measure cognitive intelligence, or IQ, through certain aptitude tests, emotional intelligence, or EQ, provides a sense of emotional skill and resilience. According to some research, EQ may actually be a greater predictor of success than IQ, with studies finding a correlation between emotional intelligence and academic performance. EQ has also been linked to professional success, greater well-being, better health, and a higher quality of relationships. And to make it even better, emotional intelligence is something that can be learned and developed.
Anger can bring out the worst in us. It can cause relationship rifts to grow greater, find fits of furiousness fueling violence, and unnecessarily escalate a situation from minimal annoyance to intense rage. But anger is still a normal (and mostly healthy) emotion, and learning to control it can help us to limit loathsome damage.
One fundamental aspect of self-care is acknowledging the importance of making yourself a priority for yourself. But is self-care selfish? No, it’s not ー not if you understand that practicing good self-care habits can help positively affect the people around you, too. It means asking yourself "What is Self-Love? How can I learn to love and accept myself more for who I am?" so that you can learn how you need or want to be loved, so you can communicate that to others around you to feel more loved, and so you have a greater capacity to love others more wholly and sincerely as well. How can we learn to prioritize ourselves at work, and in our relationships (including romantic relationships, friendships, and familial relationships)? Is self-care solitary, or can it also be social? Why is it so important to build healthy habits and routines? How do healthy habits and self-care affect our mental health? How does self-care differ from self-love? How do we develop self-love, self-respect, self-confidence, self-esteem, self-compassion, and self-acceptance? What is the importance of rituals in self-care? How do we know when we are practicing meaningful self-care rather than narcissistic self-care? It's worth taking time to delve into the answers, since authentic self-care is one of the most powerful ways we can grow.
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