WHAT IS SELF-CARE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Self-care, by definition, is ‘the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health’. It’s also been described as ‘the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress’. While not an exhaustive definition, it helps paint a picture of the importance of prioritizing ourselves.
Why is self-care important? It’s almost impossible to share the myriad benefits of placing an emphasis on yourself. Self-care doesn’t mean placing the needs of your friends and loved ones on the backburner, more specifically it means you are being mindful of your own needs and priorities, ensuring you’re the best possible version of yourself for other people and situations that need you.
- Self-care can help you create a better version of yourself physically. Ensuring you’re taking time to thoughtfully consider food and dietary choices, moving your body in a way that feels comfortable and productive, emphasizing healthy patterns of behavior related to your sleep, skincare and body care can all contribute to positive physical health.
- Self-care can help you create a better version of yourself mentally. Regularly checking in with your mental health, creating a wellness routine to support your mindfulness including talk therapy, meditation and journaling, connecting with others and safely sharing your feelings and experiences can contribute to a healthy mental outlook.
- Self-care can help you create strong, meaningful relationships. Having a network or community of people who care for us and with whom we feel safe to be ourselves, both in times of joy and in times of sorrow, is so important in helping support our confidence, self-esteem and sense of true belonging.
5 TIPS FOR A SELF-CARE CHECKLIST
Creating a physical or mental checklist of activities, behaviors and experiences that help you feel positively about yourself and your circumstances may be one of the ways you partake in self-care. Many people find that having a ‘wellness tool-kit' from which they can select as needed is an important part of prioritizing their wants and needs.
1. Try creating a simple daily self-care checklist. This list will include seemingly mundane tasks like washing your face and brushing your teeth, making your bed and drinking a tall glass of water first thing in the morning. This might seem oversimplified but the truth is, there is benefit to seeing yourself ‘check off’ or ‘complete’ tasks each day which tells your brain, ‘hey I think we can do this!’ - particularly if you’re having trouble getting started.
2. You may decide to create a checklist that has more of the wellness and well-being activities you enjoy, like mediation, yoga, getting fresh air on a walk outside, reading a couple chapters of a new book or having a cup of tea with a friend. These may be experiences you build into your schedule a couple of times per week or they may be daily occurrences – you get to decide what feels right for you.
3. Many people report feeling guilty taking time for themselves or prioritizing their own needs. Perhaps you start journaling the good, kind things you do for yourself each day, from things as simple as eating a healthy breakfast all the way to planning a vacation or getaway with your friends and take note of how it feels to make these choices. Write or journal about what you notice mentally, emotionally and spiritually when you engage in self-care practices and choices.
4. Create a self-care checklist that feels right and realistic for you. There is nothing worse than the thought of your well-intentioned self-care choices turning into guilt or blaming or shame based on your inability to complete or take part in them. Rather than adding “run a marathon” to the checklist, start with jogging for 30 minutes three times per week. Instead of “eat vegetables with every single meal”, try starting with cooking a healthy, delicious dinner at least four nights per week. Self-care is also about grace and being gentle with ourselves.
5. Be wholeheartedly on your own journey. It’s so easy (and tempting) to compare our self-care and self-love experiences with those of others. It can quickly devolve in a shame spiral when we compare so and so’s time, money, interest and capacity against our own, so we encourage you to stay in your own wellness lane! You’re the boss of you, and only you know what’s right for your self-care physically, mentally and emotionally.
SELF-CARE TIPS TO SUPPORT YOUR PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to taking care of ourselves, there are a number of tried-and-true approaches we can take each day in an effort to feel our best and live our best lives. Below are some of the best suggestions we’ve heard:
- Stay connected. One of the easiest ways to slip into poor mental and emotional health is by creating distance from ourselves and others. When we’re feeling unmotivated, sad or lethargic, it can be tempting to move into isolation and away from the care and support of others. We implore you to reach out to others, prioritize face to face connection when possible and simply keep close to those who know and love you to continue fostering a sense of togetherness and belonging.
- Focus on positivity. Not in the sense that you’re being unrealistic or unreasonable about your current state or your circumstances, but in the sense that you build resilience and enter a state of hope and grace when you decide to focus on what is in your control, what is going well, what you are grateful for and what does bring you joy in your life.
- Make sleep a priority. There’s a reason why you’ve likely been encouraged many times in your life to ‘sleep on it’, which really just means to make an effort to place time and space between stimulus and response. Our body does all sorts of wonderful things while we sleep, like heal and repair our cells and our energy stores, communicate and reorganize information in our brain and give us time to reconsider our choices and actions of the day. We simply can’t function optimally and are less inclined to make good choices for ourselves if we’re under or improperly slept.
SELF-CARE TIPS FOR INCORPORATING NATURAL WELLNESS PRODUCTS INTO YOUR ROUTINE
You may have heard of using 100% natural, plant-based, non-toxic and better-for-you products as one of the ways you can enhance and elevate your self-care. Many people find that either treating themselves to high quality, efficacious products or making simple swaps from synthetic alternatives and drug store products to clean, sustainable and renewable nature-derived products is one of the ways they’re able to prioritize self-care.
At Saje, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of natural excellence – when we say 100% natural, we actually mean it. Backed by science and rooted in century-old traditions, we make products that are safe, effective and free from the bad stuff. We never test our products on animals because we believe in wellness for all, including our furry friends.
We believe in nature and its ability to soothe ailments, calm the mind and invoke feelings of joy – that's why we make plant-based products to power every aspect of your life.
SELF-CARE TIPS: NATURAL WELLNESS PRODUCTS FOR PAIN AND RECOVERY
As part of your self-care journey, we know that finding ease and relief from aches, pains and chronic injury can be one of the ways you find respite each day. We’re sharing here a few of the products our community uses to support their wellness and physical well-being:
Peppermint Halo roll-on: this cooling, tingling and balancing formula can be applied to the head, neck and shoulders to help bring about relief, and has been blended with warming and stimulating rosemary, bright and cool peppermint and floral and relaxing lavender.
Pain Release roll-on: blended as a topical analgesic to help numb and soothe acute pain, this earthy and herbal blend of marjoram, roman chamomile and rosemary can be applied to sore and achy areas like the shoulders, biceps, knees and calves.
SELF-CARE TIPS: NATURAL WELLNESS PRODUCTS FOR COMFORTABLE, RESTFUL SLEEP
We mentioned earlier the importance of sleep which cannot be overstated. One of the many areas of wellness that is often overlooked, sleep sets the tone for what we can expect when we wake up the next day; our energy levels, digestive function and mental alertness depend on it!
Choosing natural products to support feeling rested and relaxed is one of the ways you can support self-care, and we like to curate our wind down routine to include a diffuser and diffuser blends.
Diffusers use an ultrasonic vibrating disc to break up essential oil molecules and water, creating a fine, cool mist that is dispersed into the air and then absorbed by our nose and mouth. Diffusers create what are called negative ions, which are tasteless, odorless and colorless, though thought to pack a punch when it comes to wellness. Think of the way you feel taking a deep breath in the forest, near a waterfall or at the beach. That boost of happiness? That release from stress? That natural surge in your energy levels? Those are some of the ‘side effects’ from breathing fresh, clear air – and a diffuser is designed to mimic that.
To support restful, peaceful and calm sleep each night, these are some of the diffuser blends we like to use in our bedrooms:
Tranquility diffuser blend: create an oasis of calm to rest your mind with orange, lavender, roman chamomile and ylang ylang.
Peaceful Slumber diffuser blend: tuck in for a quiet and restful night with marjoram, myrtle, lavender and petitgrain.
Dream State diffuser blend: drift off to dreamland with this blissful blend of valerian root, geranium, roman chamomile and lavender.
SELF-CARE TIPS: NATURAL WELLNESS PRODUCTS TO HELP YOU STRESS LESS
One of the most profound ailments facing most of us today is stress. Stress is everywhere – it's in our relationships, it’s in our workplaces and it’s in our homes. Though some form of stress or a stressful period of time is inevitable, it’s prudent we do all we can to regularly assess the state of our stress and look to minimize and manage it whenever and wherever possible.
Stress, when left unchecked, can have a detrimental effect on all areas of your life, from your sleep to your mental health, your appetite to your engagement levels with others. Stress is no joke, which is why we’re so grateful for natural options that can help bring feelings of balance, comfort and harmony to both the body and mind during times of stress.
Stress Release roll-on: this powerful yet grounding blend of essential oils can help inspire feelings of peacefulness and calm. Apply this soothing blend of lavender, orange, geranium and clary sage to the shoulders, neck and forehead when stress strikes, take a few deep breaths and begin to feel at ease.
Unwind mist: a spritz to soothe the senses, your evening routine may benefit from a harmonizing and comforting mist of mood-lifting, refreshing and tranquil essential oils like orange, bergamot, lavender and cinnamon.
A QUICK AND EASY SELF-CARE CHECKLIST FOR EVERYONE!
Now that you’ve had a moment to think about the different ways in which you can take care of yourself and we’ve introduced you to a number of essential oil products to support you on your journey, it’s time to put it to practice.
Below we’re including a self-care checklist of some simple, foundational actions and behaviors you can take part in each day to invite elevated wellness into your life – and everyone’s welcome!
- Don’t discount the healing properties of water. Ensure you’re getting enough each day, particularly in the morning for a natural energy boost
- Make nature a priority every day. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block, prioritize getting outside each day for deep, fresh breaths of air
- Consider the foods in your current diet that leave you feeling tired or sluggish, and look to replace them with naturally energizing alternatives
- Aim for 7-9 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep each night. Bonus points for sticking to a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Spend at least 10-15 minutes in meditation or in quiet reflection. Focus on your breath, check in with your body and relish in the silence
- Go screen free for as long as you can. In the age of technology, the majority of our day is ruled by screens of different sizes. Draw a warm bath, read a book or have a face-to-face conversation instead
- Most importantly, be realistic with the checklist you compile. A sure-fire way to self-sabotage is by setting unrealistic goals and endeavoring to take on too much too soon. Let self-care be a journey, not a destination
OTHER RESOURCES FOR SELF-CARE TIPS
Check out these other blog articles below to learn more about self-care and how you can make yourself a priority each day:
One person’s self-care isn’t necessarily another’s—there is going to be a lot of individuality.
— Gail Saltz, M.D.