How do you define self-care? What types of things do you associate with self-care? What is it what isn't it? Self-care is not something that we do when we have blown a fuse in our heads. It is something that we want to schedule and plan for regularly. I talk a lot in my practice about our check engine lights and that simply means checking in with yourself before you're at a level 10 about to blow.
Perhaps knowing what self-care is not is just as beneficial, if not more, as knowing what it is. Self-care does not look like being pushed past the point of breaking, becoming exhausted, and then taking time for yourself. Think about the things that you do on a regular basis, which are preventative measures that you do to stay healthy. Taking vitamins for instance, what happens if you wait until you have a cold to start taking a supplement? It is not nearly as effective if it all. If we only practice self-care when we are already depleted, it simply is not as effective.
What Self Care Is Not:
1. Self-Care is NOT a Luxury, but an Absolute Necessity.
2. Self-Care Does NOT Deplete but Replenishes.
3. Self-Care is NOT Destructive, but Constructive.
4. Self-Care is NOT Selfish, but Self-Compassion
When I realized that taking time for myself helped me to become more efficient and effective, I was able to connect the dots healthily. For so long I had viewed taking care of myself as selfish and weak, but I have to tell you that is no longer my view of self-care. A healthy perception of taking care of yourself can be a game-changer, trust me.
Getting Started: Practical Tips
· Take notice of those things that you do in your daily life that lift you up and bring you fulfillment.
· Journaling and Writing out your day is a therapeutic and reflective strategy
· Do one thing every day that brings you fulfillment, and that you enjoy.
· Keep it simple, you don’t have to plan a big outlandish activity.
· Maintain a healthy perception of what you are doing, again Self Care is Not Selfish.
The Bottom Line:
As with most things in life that are worthwhile, taking care of oneself takes planning. It doesn't come naturally for many of us, and it can even be uncomfortable as we start putting ourselves on our own to-do list. But be diligent and consistent with your own self-care needs; healthy habits take time to develop. As with any goal, make sure that it is maintainable, sustainable, and life-long. Stay consistent, schedule it, and enjoy it. Taking care of ourselves is always a good thing, you deserve to flourish, thrive, grow.
~Bethany Hahlbeck, IMAC, NCPLC, NCFRC, NCRPS