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Self Care

Self Care  is likely something you’ve heard about, whether that be from: A friend or family member; A video or article online; Something you’ve perhaps experienced before through therapeutic support. Often, Self Care is something that is heard and perhaps practiced for at time, but ever so slowly manages to make its way towards the end of the list of priorities. Let’s face it, in this life most of us are juggling multiple areas of need that require our attention in our families, homes, jobs and communities – so it is not so hard to see that making  ‘personal’ needs a priority can seem at best – challenging and at worst – impossible.

The truth is though, if you have found yourself feeling overly stressed, weighted down and fatigued, very likely a contributing factor is a lack of Self Care, which is defined as:

‘The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.’ 

‘The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, particularly during periods of stress.’

As human beings we all have 5 primary areas that make up our lives:

  1.   Physical: It is important to care for the body so that it works as productively as possible.
  2.   Mental: It is important to pay attention to what we fill our mind with through influences such as what we read, listen to and the people and conversations we are around, as it affects our psychological well being.
  3.   Emotional: It is important to learn healthy tools for dealing with distressing and sometimes painful emotions and incorporate healthy coping skills to balance them.
  4.   Spiritual: It is important to know that just as we exercise and nurture our physical and mental self, we must also do the same for our spiritual self, as this contributes to core wellness.
  5.   Social: It is important to know that connection and socialization with others is a vital and imperative key to good Self Care.

It is interesting to note that in each definition for Self Care, (above), there is a repetitive word, which is ‘practice‘, and that is actually very important. It’s not saying, “We take action to preserve and improve…” or that “We take an active role in protecting…” It says we…practice! To practice is defined as:

‘To train by repeated exercise

‘The repeated exercise or performance of an activity or skill to acquire proficiency’

This is important, because in the suggested solutions that follow, it is not necessary to add yet MORE weight and burden by trying to ‘do it ALL the right way ALL the time’, but rather that small steps are taken in a new direction repeatedly over time. As this is done, both a new habit will develop as well as the experience of positive outcomes gained through action and will become a part of daily living, resulting in greater balance and wellness.

Some suggested solutions in the 5 primary areas:

  1.  Physical: Feeding our bodies a healthy Diet; Physical Exercise; Getting enough Sleep; Maintaining annual and periodic Health checkups
  2.  Mental: Pay attention to what you watch and listen to; Allow time to do things that stimulate thinking, logic and memory; Actively pursue those things that contribute towards  mental health such as: Conversations with friends and peers, Joining groups to learn new things, Continued educational opportunities, Charitable opportunities, etc…
  3.  Emotional: Utilizing tools that can help in the management of emotions, like: Support groups, Guided Breathing, Mental exercises that strengthen emotional fitness, Participating in activities that make you feel re-charged, (perhaps something you’ve not done in a long time that you really once enjoyed), or trying new things: Sunrise walks, hiking, etc..
  4. Spiritual: Taking time to examine your life experiences and see the questions that come from that to discuss with someone close; Re-engage in spiritual practices that once brought you connection with God; Seek out experiences to connect or investigate God; Meditation; Looking for things that when you do them, you feel connected to Something greater than you; Listening to music that enables you to calm and connect; Locating ‘places’ that enable a feeling of peacefulness to spend time in
  5. Social:  Making it a priority to have ‘face to face’ time with your friends. Even in the midst of COVID, this can be done in ‘fun’ meetings on ZOOM (like a group game night) or even better, finding a safe outdoor location to meet and enjoy time; Finding ways to nurture family relationships and friend relationships by getting creative in locations to meet, social media ‘events’ to get together and even just ‘old school’ hand written letters; Trying out an activity class such as cooking or painting; Joining an activity group such as swimming, camping or even a book club!

With all that has occurred since last February to now – it has been a LOT and our primary areas have taken a beating – but there is no time like the present to start fresh! Know that there is only ONE you. You are TRULY one of a kind and there will NEVER be another you! If you have found yourself struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction or alcoholism – please know that there is help for you and you CAN get your life back. So be good to yourself today and the world will be a better place for having a healthy YOU!