When people are asked what self care means to them, they are usually at a loss. Some will say, “you mean going to the gym? I work out every other day. Is that self care?”

While getting exercise is indeed helpful for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, self care goes far beyond staying in shape and eating well. Self care is about taking a generous and compassionate approach to one’s own thoughts and feelings. It is about responding positively to our triumphs and being able to sit with our struggles. Self care is an internal process, which starts from a place of having a kind attitude towards one’s own mind, body and soul. It is the supportive inner voice which quells the harsh judgement of the inner critic. Self care is being with oneself in a loving and supportive way.

One quick way to improve self care is to think of a child that you know well. Perhaps its your own child, a family member, or a friend’s child. Think of how you would respond to that child if he or she came to you with a similar issue with which you have been struggling yourself. You would most likely not respond to that child with blame or judgement. Yet that is how we often respond to ourselves. Instead, it can help to react to yourself with the same compassion, curiosity, calmness and clarity that you would bring to that struggling child. Doing so is what self care is all about.