The term self care has become such a cliché phrase that its lost its importance much like a fad diet that comes and goes without anyone noticing. There are many misconceptions that people have regarding self-care. Self care, or as I also like to call it self-healing, are calculated steps taken to preserve ones mental, physical and emotional well being. Let me tell you, it doesn’t come easy. We all know we need to take care of ourselves, we teach this to our patients daily! If we know what we SHOULD be doing, why is it so hard to do it, especially if not doing so has a direct correlation on how we feel internally? I use to look down on my non-compliant patients until I took a good look at myself and realized I was no different. What we all must do is figure out what is stopping us from taking care of ourselves. Are we scared to get real, deal with those issues we’ve been putting off for years? Are we one big ball of excuses? Or are we just flat out lazy? Whatever the reason is, we have to take a good look in the mirror and figure out what it is that is stopping us from being good to ourselves.
One thing to note is that self-care isn’t the same for everyone. My ideas of self-preservation regarding my physical health is not running on the treadmill for an hour, but give me some free weights and barbells, and I’m in heaven. I once heard someone talk about self-care as just being present in the moment. Have you ever taken a shower and focused on the shower versus the 10 million things you have to do once you’re out? Letting the water hit your face, closing your eyes and just being in that moment? A shower may be the only time in the whole day that you have a moment to just be. Next time you’re in the shower take a moment to just be, take a sigh of relief, inhale and exhale allowing for a moment of gratitude for making it this far in life. While reminding ourselves about what self care is, I want to make a few notes about what self care is not.
What self-care is not?
Selfish- how many times have we ran around taking care of others while leaving ourselves last? We feel guilty about taking a moment for ourselves because there is sooo much to do for everyone else? Or the famous, I’ll get to myself later, which never happens!
One size fits all- as stated earlier, running is not my thing, but being a healthier version of myself is and that’s ok. You don’t like bubble baths? Well use your shower time for me time. Self-care can be whatever feeds your soul
Easy, at first- when deciding to make self-care a priority I had no clue how difficult it would be. Time still escapes me. Days go by when I’m so busy I don’t have time to take a relaxing bubble bath with candles lit and a glass of wine (just the thought of this makes me smile)! What I have gotten better at is taking small moments throughout the day to have me time. Sometimes the only self-care activity I get during the day is taking my lunch outside to feel the sun and get away from all the dings and buzzing out on the floor.
Types of self-care
Mental- learning to say no (you can’t be everything to everybody), setting boundaries to protect your mental stability, anxiety reducing activities, seek therapy. Better help is an app you can use to contact a therapist from the convenience of where you may be. 24/7 help is available.
Physical- sleep, exercise, eating healthy, seeing your doctor (how many of us are guilty of putting off our own physical health even though we scold our patients for the doing this very thing)
Emotional- ridding our lives of toxic people, family time, journaling, releasing our emotions vs keeping emotions inside, maintaining healthy relationships and environments, regulating negative self talk.
The fun stuff- as stated above, self-care is anything that feeds your soul. Along with the mental and emotional self-care, don’t forget to have fun! Some of us have become a real stick in the mud and forgot what it feels like to let our hair down and have fun!