If the pressures of juggling a busy career while managing family and relationships AND worrying about climate change, the political climate, and a zillion other things (pick your poison) aren’t enough, throw in the raging hormones, pain and discomfort your period brings… honestly, it’s enough to send anyone over the edge. This is why it’s more important than ever to prioritize self-care. If you’re unsure what establishing a regular self-care routine looks like (we promise you’ll love it), it’s worth noting there are actually six different elements of self-care (we’re complex creatures, us humans). Each is as important as the other. Enjoy Cleo’s guide to self-care and a healthy mind, body, and soul.
The lowdown: EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Not to be confused with mental health (more on that in a bit), your emotional health is described by experts as “being in tune with our emotions, vulnerability, and authenticity.” Every bit as important as your physical and overall health, good emotional health is fundamental for fostering resilience, self-awareness, and an overall sense of contentment. We understand that it’s not possible to be bouncing off the walls with joy every single day – after all, emotions are meant to fluctuate as they are critical to our survival, prompting us to think, act, react. It’s therefore essential to keep your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and perspective in check so that you can rebound from whatever life throws out you without hurtling down the slippery slope to depression.
Your emotional self-care plan:
The trick is to regulate your emotions, so get curious as to why you feel a certain way and try to take a more empathic and compassionate view (especially with yourself). Get plenty of sleep (truly, it’s crucial), see a therapist, talk it out with friends, write your thoughts in a journal, do some art therapy, or listen to some mood-boosting music. Remember, a problem (or emotion) shared is a problem halved.
The lowdown: PRACTICAL HEALTH
Granted, it’s tough to keep a lid on your emotions when your life, finances, or home is a mess. Is it any wonder the Marie Kondo phenomenon blew up the notion that an organized, streamlined life is an instant ticket to sparking joy? The Japanese tidying up expert and author believes if you tidy your space, you’ll transform your life. This philosophy has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine (hello, feng shui), which looks at the energetic connections and flow between our health and our environment and promotes the importance of deeply cleaning and organizing your environment for greater health and happiness.
Your practical self-care plan:
Get to work. Spring and fall are the best times to detoxify your space in preparation for the abundance, energy, and inspiration the new season will bring. The very act of doing so will lead to increased clarity and efficiency, and help you conserve energy that can be better used to support your physical, mental, and emotional health. Overhaul your finances by creating a budget, take a professional development class, clear the clutter, and streamline your wardrobe. Fact: we wear 20-percent of our clothes 80-percent of the time. A personal stylist will be quick to tell you that if you haven’t worn something for two years, you never will. Be ruthless.
The low down: PHYSICAL HEALTH
Happiness is the new rich and health is the new wealth, as far as we are concerned. Do you know who agrees? WHO (the World Health Organization). "Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” That said, treat your body like the temple it is (while nurturing your mental and emotional health) and reap the benefits of a long, happy, stress-free, vital life. Maintain a healthy diet (we’re advocates for the healing powers of a mostly plant-based diet), exercise regularly (yoga, gentle stretching or walking whatever works, just move), and avoid excessive alcohol, sugar, and processed and fried food. Achieving optimum health also means regularly practicing some self-care, and we can’t think of a better way than indulging in a DIY spa session.
Your physical self-care plan:
Embrace JOMO (the joy of missing out) and spend a Friday or Saturday night in, turning your home into a luxurious sanctuary. Light a scented candle, play some meditative music, have a warm bath, and up your hydration levels with a green juice or Cleo’s vitamin- and nutrient-rich ENERGY drink and play beauty therapist. Cleanse your skin and apply Cleo’s HYDRATE Hydrogel facial mask, which features ultra-moisturizing hyaluronic acid and natural, soothing aloe to clean your pores deeply, boosts collagen levels, and leave you your skin glowing like a goddess.
The lowdown: MENTAL HEALTH
Good mental health starts with a positive mindset, as your thoughts become your behaviors. So love yourself fully and completely. Mental health is described in Psychology Today as “your overall psychological well-being — the way you feel about yourself and others as well as your ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties.” And while, of course, mental health issues or disorders require treatment from a professional, there are many ways to improve your mental well-being naturally. The payoff is inner peace, contentment, and an increased sense of happiness and joy. Bring it.
Your mental health self-care plan:
How you think has a massive impact on your mental health, so get yourself a gratitude journal and start each day by writing down three things you are grateful for. It works. Keeping your head clear and your mind sharp also works wonders, so read a great book, solve a puzzle, play chess, and embrace cultural experiences; see a show, go to an exhibition, plan a trip to an exotic destination.
The low down: SPIRITUAL HEALTH
As the enlightened will attest, we’re all spiritual beings having a human experience, so it makes sense you should nourish your soul, along with your mind and body while on this earthly plane. And if you don’t believe the navel-gazers, the Center for Lifestyle Medicine Wellness Care lists the health benefits of spirituality as reducing anxiety, stress, depression, blood pressure, and heart disease. It also strengthens your immune system, concentration, memory, and cognitive functions. Embracing your spiritual health isn’t defined to a religious practice, but finding your sense of a higher power.
Your spiritual self-care plan:
Mindfulness, best achieved through meditation, is the process of bringing your attention to the present moment and what you are currently experiencing, without judgment. By living in the moment, you can simply be without having any fear or worry over the future. Beyond meditation and living in a state of mindfulness, you can get your woo woo on through yoga, prayer, going to a place of worship, crystal healing, spending time in nature, and allocating time to stop, do nothing, and reflect. Repeat after us: Ommmmmmmm.
The lowdown: SOCIAL HEALTH
We might live in a tech-charged world that thrives on connectivity, yet human beings have never been more disconnected. If the majority of your social interactions are on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, then take the lead of the March sisters from Greta Gerwig’s female empowerment classic film Little Women and rediscover the richness in relationships built on love and spending quality time together (writing and performing plays is optional). Good social health, according to experts, is the ability to forge healthy friendships and relationships and thrive in social settings. Studies show those who struggle with poor social skills experience more stress, depression, and loneliness and are at greater risk of developing health issues. Now, if that’s not an excuse to round up the gang, we don’t know what is.