The importance of self-care.
What do you think about when you think about self-care?
It is fair to say that now days the term self-care gets banded about all over the place. However when you break it down it is actually very important for all of us. Whenever you start a course of therapy, discussions in regards to self care will be one of the first topics on the agenda, especially as at this time self-care is even more important and steps should be taken whenever possible to do something that makes you feel mentally and physically better.
What does Self-care mean?
Taking time to do things you enjoy. Usually, self-care involves everyday activities that you find relaxing, fun, or energising. These activities could be as simple as reading a book, or as big as taking a well deserved holiday, which, granted, is not easy at the moment.
Take care of you.
Self-care also means taking care of yourself. This is achieved through eating regular, healthy and well balanced meals, plus drinking more water, cutting alcohol, sugar and fatty foods. You need to make sure that you are getting enough good quality sleep, caring for your personal hygiene, and anything else that maintains good health.
Make self-care a priority.
There will always be other things to do, but don’t let these interrupt the time you set aside for self-care. Self-care should be given the same importance as other responsibilities. Set specific self-care goals. It’s difficult to follow through with vague goals, such as “I will take more time for self-care”. Instead, try something specific, such as “I will walk for 30 minutes every evening after dinner”. Remember SMART goals.
Make self-care a habit.
Going on one short jog and eating some fruit doesn’t eliminate health problems. Using self-care just once won’t have much effect on reducing stress. Choose activities that you can do often, and that you will stick with. Set boundaries to protect your self-care. You don’t need a major obligation to say “no” to others— your self-care is reason enough. Remind yourself that your needs are as important as anyone else’s. A few minutes of self-care is better than no self-care.
How can I adopt regular self-care?
You need to make it a habit. It takes about 30 days of doing something consistently to make it a habit. You need to get yourself used to doing something new, such as yoga, strength training or meditation. Adopt a positive mindset and push yourself, this is important as the negativity and the thought that you would rather do something else will creep into your mind.
What else can you do?
Get into your gym kit and don’t get distracted, prepare the night before and get things ready. Set an alarm reminding you to take regular breaks, even if it’s just a walk around the block, or an uninterrupted snack. Often stepping away from everyday chores and tasks will energise you to work more efficiently when you return.
Self care is definitely not substance use, over-eating, and other unhealthy behaviours. It might hide uncomfortable emotions temporarily, but they cause more problems in the long run.
Keep up with self-care, even when you’re feeling good. Doing so will keep you in a healthy routine. Plus, self-care might be part of the reason why you’re feeling good!
Paul Brown – CBT Practitioner |Life Coach
Mental Health First Aid Instructor | Workplace Well-being/Advocate
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