By Seija Grant, MEd CP, RP
You may have heard or read about the elusive ‘self-care practice’ and wondered…
What the heck does that mean anyway?
Well, I am here to enlighten you. It is something that we often over-look, take for granted or push aside. To practice self-care is to deliberately engage in activities that improve your mental, emotional and physical well-being. This seems pretty simple, but in reality, it can be a challenging task for many. There are so many benefits to self-care, such as regulating your mood, reducing anxiety symptoms, and strengthening relationships with self and others.
A quote I enjoy that emphasizes the importance of this is “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. In short, you cannot give yourself to others (job included) unless you have taken the time to ‘recharge your batteries’ or ‘put fuel in your gas tank’. It is NOT selfish to self-care but in fact necessary to avoid burning yourself out. To take time to self-care means that you know yourself, your needs, and you are being responsible for yourself. Sometimes all that means is saying no to extra responsibilities and simply knowing what you can or cannot take on.
Where should I even start? Good question! Just start small by asking yourself the following questions.
How often do you:
If you answered “never”, “rarely”, or “sometimes” then you likely need to up your self-care game. These questions only relate to some of the physical well-being components of self-care, and only a few of the more basic needs. For more information and to figure out where you are at in terms of your own self-care practice, please see the links at the bottom of this article. Having good self-care practice means having a balance of activities in your life that make you feel refreshed and renewed, rather than draining or depleting you. I would encourage you to take some time to reflect upon your life, where you spend your energy, and ask…
what could I let go of? What could I do more of? How could I feel more balanced?
From my own personal experience, I know that I need to exercise nearly every day to take care of my emotional, mental and physical needs. I know that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but maybe yours is painting, making music, having some solo downtime, meditation, playing with puppies or kittens--whatever your thing is, make sure you do it often! Schedule self-care into your life, don’t just use it as a filler activity. Taking care of yourself is important to maintain balance in your life. It is never too late to begin a self-care practice, so sit down and create a plan to implement some of these activities into your routine and see how it makes you feel.
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