What is the best form of self-care for you?

What is the best form of self-care for you?

Published on 28th January, 2022 at 12:28 pm

There is a different form of self-care to suit everyone, depending on your needs. Here’s how to find – and practise – yours for improved wellbeing.

By now we are all aware of the importance of self-care. Incorporating it into our lives has shown to reduce stress, prevent burnout and help us lead healthier, more balanced lives.

Before the pandemic, 43% of respondents to a survey by international employment website Indeed reported experiencing burnout. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the website’s 2021 Employee Burnout Report revealed that the number rose to 52% at the beginning of 2021. Self-care is proven to lower stress levels to prevent people from becoming another statistic.

When it comes to self-care, however, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As unique individuals, what some people find calming might be agonising for others. It’s all about identifying what helps you feel centred and is based on your mind and body’s needs. The mental-health community has also identified different forms of self-care that address different areas of your life that could do with some soothing or sorting out. Here are five of them to explore to find your perfect match.

#1: Physical self-care

“Most people want to be in peak physical condition. But few of us have the dedication to stick to our fitness goals, despite all the benefits associated with regular exercise,” explains personal life and study coach at TouchBase Coaching, Yolandi Garden. “We also have a tendency to impose rules on ourselves and get upset when we fail to meet our (unrealistic) expectations.”

Physical self-care can benefit everyone, and it doesn’t have to be a CrossFit session to count! “Jogging or walking 500m is better than not moving at all. One night at the gym is better than a night on the couch. There are also ways to be active without having to leave your house. “Join a virtual class, watch a YouTube workout session or do some satisfying stretches,” she suggests.

Sanlam Reality Club, Core, Plus and Health members get up to 80% off monthly gym fees at Planet Fitness and JustGym, which include online gym classes. Click here to find out more.

Keeping active is important for your physical and mental health. Read this for ways to stay active at home.

#2: Social self-care

“There is no set way to socialise,” says Garden. It can be done digitally, face-to-face or via a nod of acknowledgement. There are no rules, and each person’s need for interaction will be different.” What is universal, however, is the need to build and maintain fulfilling relationships to lead a happy and enriched life.

When it comes to in-person socialising, it doesn’t have to be costly or time-intensive. “If you’re strict with your boundaries and only give or spend what time and money you can, creativity can go a long way in helping you keep your social-needs cup full without adding any guilt,” Garden explains.

But we all lead busy lives, and catching up with people in real life can be a challenge. As such, “voice notes and FaceTime have become a valid form of socialising,” says Garden. “Technology has also become a vital tool for friends and families who are separated by oceans, helping to keep our much-needed connections strong – so embrace it!”

Need a break? Sometimes the last thing we want is to interact with other people. As a Reality Club, Core, Plus or Health member, make the most of your solo time and give your brain a break by using your Nu Metro benefit to take yourself on a movie date, or your Showmax benefit to make the most of entertaining nights in (while being mindful not to binge, albeit tempting!).

#3: Mental self-care

Taking care of your mental health is important for overall wellbeing. An increasing number of people struggle with depression and anxiety, so factoring in self-care that focuses on calming the mind is crucial for everyone.

Mental health issues shouldn’t stop you from being an active member of your workplace. With early diagnosis, proper treatment and education, you can enjoy fulfilment in your career. Find out how, here.

“Two things that have been shown to be effective when it comes to mental and emotional self-care are mindfulness and finding gratitude.” And while these activities might seem small, they can make a significant difference. Studies revealed that just 25 minutes of mindful meditation daily can alleviate stress. Try to set aside a few minutes each day to quiet the noise in your mind.

“Even when you feel like your life is in turmoil and are at an all-time low, there is always something to be grateful for. You may just need to be creative in your thinking!” says Garden. “Express this gratitude in a designated journal or by declaring out loud as you would with affirmations and you’ll start appreciating what you do have rather than lamenting about what you don’t.”

#4: Professional self-care

Nurturing your career and challenging yourself is how you progress up the proverbial ladder. And there are several ways to practise professional self-care that can help you on your journey to where you want to be.

One of these ways is by upskilling on a regular basis. “There are thousands of short courses, paid and unpaid, that you can access online. Try to select skills that will serve you well in the workplace but are also transferable or versatile, recommends Garden. There are also many books and podcasts that discuss career-related topics to consume to keep you relevant.

Want to kick-start your upskilling journey? Use your free Personal Assistant to help you source quotes for courses to help you upskill and supercharge your career.

“It’s important not to let fear hold you back from seizing opportunities that may present themselves. This can often have a positive impact on your self-esteem. Remember that others sometimes see things in us that we don’t see in ourselves,” says Garden. “In saying that, it’s not a good idea to take on something out of your realm of expertise. ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ might seem like a sustainable idea, but often leads to imposter syndrome.”

#5: Financial self-care

Financial problems can be devastating and are, in many cases, avoidable. “Educate yourself to improve your financial literacy by reading personal finance books, magazines and articles, and listening to relevant podcasts,” suggests Garden. “Another way to learn more about your money is by consulting a financial planner. Come up with savings goals and devise a budget and strategy together to help you reach them.” Book a meeting with a financial planner here.

It’s also worth remembering that every little bit counts. The Sanlam Money Saver credit card helps you save while you spend. If you choose to commit to saving using the Sanlam Money Saver credit card and shop at Reward Partners, you’ll get 5% added to your Wealth Bonus at no extra cost, except at TotalEnergies forecourts. If you don’t commit to co-saving, but still use your Sanlam Money Saver credit card at Reward Partners, you’ll get 3% added to your Wealth Bonus, except at TotalEnergies forecourts. If you fill up at TotalEnergies forecourts, you earn R1 cash back per litre of fuel guaranteed! Find out more here.

While saving for your future is a non-negotiable, it’s also important that you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour. “Set aside some cash each payday – even a small amount – to use for your own enjoyment,” suggests Garden. “Our money shouldn’t control us, so we need to have some (responsible) fun with it!”

When it comes to financial self-care, a qualified financial planner is the perfect expert to enlist. They can help you plan for happy occasions and rainy days, which should ultimately have a positive impact on your mental health. Speak to one today.

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