Ugggh… you guys… I am so tired! The past six weeks or so have really taken the life out of me! So much so that I am even struggling to write this at all. Between Dad’s surgery, family obligations, house projects, financial burdens, typical work stressors, and extra special work stressors on top of it all… I’m beat.
During this stressful time, I’ve been thinking a lot about self care and how I can get better at it. I brought it up with my mom and was surprised to find that she wasn’t particularly familiar with the term “self care.” I guess it’s such a talked about concept in the mental health field that I forget not everyone learns what it means to take care of themselves and why it’s essential to successful living!
Self care is pretty much just what it sounds like: taking care of one’s own mental, physical, and spiritual health and wellbeing. This includes managing stress and finding balance with the different facets of one’s life. Most importantly, self care is a continual process, not a onetime thing! You have continually take time to find your peace and feed your soul.
“But that sounds so selfish! Who has time to get away from work? The kids? The house? The husband? If I don’t pour my heart and soul into everyone and everything around me, I’m a bad mom/wife/woman!”
I hear you, my dears, and I understand where that feeling comes from! It’s not always easy to remember that you have value all on your own, is it? It’s easy to martyr yourself and feel that that is what makes you a good person. The best way I know to explain that this viewpoint is so flawed is to ask you to remember the last time you got on an airplane and the speech they give before takeoff. If you need to put on an oxygen mask, they tell you to do yours first and then help others. That’s not selfish! You are completely useless to help others if you’re passed out! The same is true of regular life stuff!
Have you ever noticed getting grumpy with your coworkers when you slept poorly? Or snapped at your significant other when dinner is late and you’re a little hangry? Ever yelled at the kids after a long day at work when all you want to do is draw a bath and drink a glass of wine? That’s why self care matters! If you don’t do it, not only do you suffer, but so does everyone else around you!
So, then, what do you do about it? Consider what you naturally do to reduce stress and feel good. From there, you can expand your positive self care strategies and incorporate these things more naturally into your life. Once something becomes a habit, you won’t have to work as hard to do it on a regular basis. Discuss your thoughts with your family or friends so they can help you stay on track and to help them understand any changes your self care plan will make in how you interact with them.
Here’s a short list of things to help you get started. Please add to it and mold it to fit your own, personal needs!
- Be self aware – know your limits and make a plan to help you stick to what you can handle – it’s okay to say “no” once in a while.
- Develop a support system – talk to family, friends, people online, and seek out professional help if needed
- Take care of your body: exercise, eat right, sleep enough
- Take care of your mind: take time off, read, do something relaxing, practice mindfulness
- Take care of your spirit: laugh, meditate, attend religious services, spend time in nature or visit a spa
When in doubt, be like a corgi! Play outside with your favorite person, drink lots of water, and SMILE!