As much as you may hear about “self-care,” most people do not truly understand what it means, or the importance of it.

Self-care means to take care of oneself, to acknowledge your needs, to check in with your mind and your body.

On autopilot mode, we tend to live too deeply in our heads and ignore our bodies. We let our thoughts take over and control us. The mind is easily manipulated but the body is strong, wise, and has a lot to say. There is so much tension and achy-ness in our bodies that we would rather ignore it and pretend it’s not there rather than address it. So we need to make a conscious effort to listen to our bodies and learn what we need.

Here is how it goes — something bothers you in your mind so you push it away and force yourself not to think about it. When you push it away, it does not magically disappear but instead travels to your body. For example, you are scrubbing harder when you clean, your jaw is clenching when you sit still, your shoulders are squeezed too far upright as you walk — and you do not notice this as it happen. Then the accumulation of tension builds up to the point where your body is screaming at you and now you finally notice, but by now it’s too late.

You can live more in your body by:

  • Exercising more, participating in more physical labor-related tasks. Do not spend your whole day sitting down.
  • Stretching
  • Feel your breathing by repeating “inhale” in your head as you inhale and “exhale” in your head as you exhale.
  • Drop your shoulders as you walk but keep your chest held high
  • Spend a moment thinking about a specific body part, ex your stomach. Simply bringing awareness to a body part helps you live in your body.

**Living in your body is one of the many ways to practice “grounding,” which causes you to feel more present and relieve anxiety.**