If you were to suffer a physical injury, what would you do? Go to a doctor? Hire a personal injury lawyer if the injury wasn't your fault, perhaps? Rest? Undergo some rehabilitation? The effort and care that you put into your physical well being should be no different when it comes to your emotions. Often overlooked because it cannot be physically seen, emotional self-care is vital, sometimes if not more so, for a happy and well-balanced life.
When people think of self-care, they often think of face masks, baking cookies, and manicures, but emotional self-care goes a lot deeper. Not taking care of your emotional needs can slowly affect your body, resulting in physical deterioration such as headaches, fatigue, and exhaustion.
While everyone's emotional self-care will look different, here are 3 steps that everyone can take to better their emotional health.
To be able to take care of yourself emotionally, you first need to identify your feelings before you can proceed to deal with them. Addressing and determining what it is that you are feeling is the crucial first step, as well as allowing yourself to fully feel the emotions that you are currently experiencing. A lot of our issues, both emotional and then as a consequence, physical, manifest when we try to brush them off and ignore them. By addressing them, you can then begin healing, as you would with any physical injury, allowing you to eventually let go.
Putting yourself first sounds like an easy enough concept, but it's an area that many struggle with. People tend to lack healthy boundaries due to the fear of hurting others or not wanting to appear self-indulgent. While it can feel that way at first, it's actually not as selfish as it sounds and is essential for our emotional well being. Try to get comfortable with saying 'no' more often and don't feel pressured into doing anything that doesn't make you feel good. If those around you genuinely care about you, then they won't get offended, and if some people don't like it, then that's also okay - you can't please everyone, but you should always put yourself and your needs first.
Be Kinder to Yourself
Ask yourself, if one of your friends spoke to you in the same way that you currently speak to yourself, how long would you be friends with them for? Or if someone spoke to your friend in the same way, would you think that was okay? Self-compassion is one of the most important things that you can practice. Ultimately the inner monologue that is inside of your head will be the one that's going to be there forever, so it’s important to make sure that the voice and thoughts that you have daily are kind. Become aware of the language that you use towards yourself. If it's negative, make a conscious effort to use more positive language via positive self affirmations and treat yourself how you would want others to treat you. When you treat yourself with the respect that you deserve, setting boundaries, saying no, and putting yourself first will become more natural, leading to overall better emotional self-care.