There is a lot of noise about “self care” these days, to the tune of seven million Instagram tags alone.
An International Self Care Day was launched in 2011 (it falls each year on July 25) by the International Self Care Foundation, a charity in the UK. Taking good care of oneself is both the foundation of health care, but in the last decade the concept – and anything to do with wellness – has also become big business. As a result, self care has frequently become associated with other, more shallow pursuits: for example, shopping, mani-pedis or eating ice cream, which often involve spending money.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to Dr Saliha Afridi, a clinical psychologist and managing director of Lighthouse Arabia in Dubai. Here are four pillars of self care she recommends that don’t cost a thing.
• Get to sleep: The single most important thing you can do for your mind and body is to get a good night sleep. Set the room to 16°C to 18°C, make sure the room is totally dark, have a bedtime routine and turn off your phone, tablet and other electronic devices at least two hours before bedtime.
• Be “anti-social media”: Take some time to enjoy the moment. Engage all five senses and take mental pictures without a phone in between you and your experience.
• Connect to nature: Everything is alive. The Earth is alive, sand is alive, the Moon is alive, the sea is alive. Spend time connecting to the Earth and use it to regenerate and rejuvenate.
• Be with friends: A 75-year study done by Harvard University concluded that “happiness is love.” Having secure attachments with the closest family and friends mitigates stress and is one of the best ways to take care of your health. It is important to keep your phones out of sight when spending quality time with loved ones.