Denise Hung is a Study Melbourne Ambassador and Chinese Medicine student at the Southern School of Natural Therapies. Here, she explains the importance of self-care for health and wellness and how to make it part of your daily routine.

Words and images by Denise Hung, Study Melbourne Student Ambassador

What is self-care?

Self-care is the act of placing your wellness first and putting everything else aside. It is an essential part of taking good care of your body, mind and soul. When we are not the best version of ourselves, we are not able to serve our community to the fullest.

Self-care is not just a physical act, like exercising or getting enough sleep. It is also checking in with yourself mentally and emotionally. By checking in, you are asking:

  • “How am I feeling?”
  • “Am I at peace?”
  • “Am I aware of my actions and thoughts?” or
  • “Is this serving me a better purpose?”

My self-care routine

For me, self-care is starting the day with a 30-45 minute meditation, yoga practice or a run at the park while listening to a nice song.

I enjoy finding great local produce and cooking simple meals. I take time to eat without distractions or connection with the people around me.

In the evenings, I set aside time to meditate again. Sometimes, when work or study gets very stressful, I take a long walk around a park and soak in nature’s blessings. We are very fortunate to have beautiful parks and streams around Melbourne to keep us close to nature. It is very refreshing and rejuvenating.

How you can practice self-care

Here are some ideas to start building self-care into your life:

  • Take time out for yourself. It can be just 20 or 30 minutes a day. Try sitting in silence or listening to nature and your breathing.
  • Eat well. This can either be mindfully choosing your ingredients or cooking better meals for yourself.
  • Make better food choices. For example, eat less sugar and salt and drink less alcohol or caffeine.
  • Discover something new. This could be a movie, song, book, yoga or new form of exercise.
  • Disconnect with technology. Although we want to stay connected with family and friends, this is the best way to check in with yourself.
  • Have the courage to ask yourself tough questions. For example “Am I happy?”, “Why am I upset?” or “How can I be less stressed?”

Your version of self-care can be very different from others. So feel free to explore what works best for you. There is no right answer as we are all unique in every possible way. Find your best self-care practices by allowing yourself to explore life to the fullest.