Everyone gets stressed. Whether it be school, job, or relationship related stress, it affects us not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. A way to combat this stress is to practice effective self-care. No matter what may be going on with you right now, this holistic approach allows you to live a vital life. But what does this actually look like? What is and what is not self-care?

Self-care IS

Tailored to your individual needs. You have to determine what works for you. Everyone is different in terms of what they prefer and what they find relaxing. It will most likely take some time to figure out what suits you best. Indicators that a practice or activity is serving you include feeling more calm, refreshed, inspired, hopeful, confident or grateful.

Empowering. You have control over learning about how to meet your needs and then implementing an action plan to get them met. Accomplishing the goal of doing at least one thing for yourself throughout the day can give you a sense of being successful even if you might not feel that way in other areas of your life right now.

Self-care IS NOT

Selfish. Some might feel guilty and selfish if they engage in self-care. If this should occur, it might be helpful to remind yourself that this will allow you to be your best version of yourself. Your needs must be met before anyone else’s can. No one wants to be around someone who is constantly tired, cranky, and tense all the time.

Expensive. Self-care doesn’t have to include lavish spa retreats or costly products. Some self-care practices such as reading are free. Or if exercising is something that you find fulfilling, even taking a leisurely stroll would be considered taking care of yourself.