Self-care is not just getting manicures or pedicures, having a spa day, getting massages, or lounging all day. Taking care of yourself is NOT selfish, it is actually the opposite. Self-care is doing things you might not feel like doing, like exercise and eating healthy. If we are not in good shape, how can we fully be there for others? It is a lot harder than what it seems, it takes self-discipline, especially if you are used to taking care of others and their needs before your own.

Here is a list of the most important things we can do to practice self-care:

Make a Doctor’s Appointment
I make sure my son gets his regular checkups, dentist appointments and whatever else he needs to keep up with his health. I have made it a point to do the same for myself as I do for him, and prioritize my health too. Annual checkups, mammograms, gynecologist, and dental are all part of my medical self-care to-do list. Yes, it is time consuming, but would it not be worse if we get a disease we could have prevented with early detection?

Keep up with Mental Health
I was diagnosed with OCD during my pro career, so I make sure I attend my therapy appointments and keep myself informed as much as I can on my mental disorder. There are a lot of stigmas that come with mental health conditions. However, those that accept it and get treated are healthier for it. Pretending not to have anything or being too embarrassed to get help is not ok. You are not only damaging yourself, but you are negatively affecting those around you.

Meditation and Presence
If there is anything that has truly changed me and has made me more fulfilled, it is meditating and staying connected with God. Meditation makes me go inside myself and opens the pathway to being present in each moment in my life. When I am present with my family, my son, or my friends, I am fulfilled. When I am not, I feel empty. There is nothing more important than really connecting with the ones we love.

Setting Boundaries
This has been a hard one for me. However, while learning to not take anything personal and understanding that in order to be respected, I need to respect myself, has been a challenge, I continue to work on it. For you, it might be removing toxic people from your life and setting boundaries. For me, it means not tolerating certain behaviors and removing myself from situations or people that I love. It means setting limits and loving myself.

Exercise and Eating Healthier Foods
I love exercise, it is a huge part of my life, so this one comes easy to me. Making healthier food choices is also not hard, but I know for many it is a struggle. See it as an investment in your health. Your energy and moods will be better, and you will be able to be happier with those you love.

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Esteban Villanueva