Self-Care Sunday: What is Self-Care?
Self-care has become a very popular topic lately and it’s come to mean doing frivolous, self-indulgent things like getting your nails done or getting a massage. Now, I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with indulging yourself every so often, but this really isn’t what self-care is all about. Self-care is about doing the things you need to do to care for your mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s finding ways to promote your overall health and well-being. Although it can include luxury activities like getting a pedi or going on a cruise, it also includes the basics like eating right, exercising, sleeping a full night, and caring for your basic hygiene. If you’re feeling blue, struggling with anxiety, depression, or feeling stressed, it might be hard for you to complete these seemingly easy tasks. And that’s OK. We’re going to start this process right where you are right now.
But why can it be so difficult for us to take care of ourselves? Well, there are a lot of different reasons. It might be that we are too stressed out. Or the symptoms from our depression or anxiety or PTSD are too much and are overwhelming to us. Maybe we feel guilty when we take some time for ourselves. We believe our lives should be devoted to our parent or spouse or to our child and that we shouldn’t be self-indulgent and take time to do things for ourselves. That is just plain wrong! If you don’t care for yourself, then you won’t have the resources within yourself to be able to care for those you love. It really is very important and not self-indulgent at all. The best practice is to build it into your daily life and to make it a priority.
Now onto the how of self-care! I think the biggest secret to improving your self-care is to personalize it to your individualized needs. So, take a look at the list below, and mark the areas that you think you need to improve. Then start a plan to make improvements in those areas! Let’s get to work!
o Eating Healthy including lean proteins and lots of fruits and vegetables. Stay hydrated.
o Try to sleep 8 hours a day. If this is a problem, check out my blog on this topic.
o Exercise regularly. The ideal is 30 min 5x per week.
o Try some stress management such as deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, or meditation.
o Acknowledge and name your emotions as they occur. If you don’t then the emotions will tend to increase in intensity, plus, this makes it easier to process your emotions.
o Get medical care when needed to maintain your health and to care for any medical problems as they arise.
o Take your medications as prescribed.
o Take care of your teeth and get regular dental care.
o Regularly engage in something that is fun for you.
o Learn to say “No” when asked to do something that you don’t want to do. Set personal boundaries that are right for you.
o Find a balance between your work and personal lives.
o Nurture your relationships with your family and friends.
o Find a method of processing your thoughts and emotions like maybe journaling or talking to a therapist.
o Ask for help when needed.
o Take a vacation. Or at least a weekend away to refresh yourself.
o Wear sunscreen.
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