As a therapist, the most common question I ask almost all my clients is “What are you doing to take care of you?”
The most common answer I almost always receive is, “Well, nothing. I don’t have time for me. That would be selfish when I have a career, kids, spouse, household chores, outside commitments, etc.”
My response to this is that there is always time for you! Like everything else in our lives we have to decide to make self-care a priority, even if it means to scheduling it into the calendar alongside soccer games, dentist appointments or studying.
Whether we realize it or not, taking care of ourselves is vital to every other aspect of our life, including all facets of our health and how well we are able to take care of those around us.
What Is Self-Care?
Basically speaking, self-care is the act of taking care of all aspects of you physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. It means ensuring the priority of all aspects of your health.
For some, components of self-care might include:
- Taking a walk on a beautiful day
- Committing to an exercise routine
- Getting a manicure
- Going on a coffee date with a friend
- Taking time out of a busy day to sit in stillness
Self-care will look different from person to person as every individual has his or her own needs and capacities. A few important things to remember about self-care include:
Self-Care Is An Everyday Commitment
As a culture, as well as busy individuals with chaotic schedules, we are often guilty of thinking that self-care is that special treat we slip in every so often. The reality, though, is that self-care should be part of everyday life.
It can be as simple as making sure to get enough sleep or eat a good breakfast. These little ways of caring for ourselves will eventually turn into habits that will help to bolster an overall healthier lifestyle.
Self-Care Means Creating Healthy Habits
Self-care can certainly include treating yourself but we also need to remember that it is even more about creating healthy habits that help ensure our needs are met.
For example, binging a show can be a great way to unwind mentally or take a break from emotional duress, but dealing with stress should also include working through issues to find solutions and healing.
Self-Care Means Recognizing & Removing Toxicity From Our Lives
Whether it’s an unhealthy relationship, a habit that breeds negativity in our lives or shame from past wounds, it is important to “know ourselves” to the best of our ability and to look for places in our lives that create or sustain negativity.
Doing this alongside a licensed counselor or therapist can be a helpful way of accurately pinpointing places in our lives and minds that may be in need of positive change.
Personally, even as a busy working mom of four children involved in competitive sports, serving as PTO president of my children’s school, having a house to tend to and a husband with a demanding career (and the list goes on), I always make time for me.
I am a runner and love to work out, so 4-6 times a week; I take a work out class or enjoy a nice run outside. I don’t ever feel guilty or think I should be doing something else, because this time is vital to helping me feel I am giving my best in every other aspect of my life. Without this self-care, I am more stressed, more irritable, and cannot function to my fullest as a therapist, wife, mother, PTO president, sister, daughter, and aunt!
So, start taking care of you! Schedule a date with yourself, do something just for you. I promise you and every other aspect of your life will reap the benefit of making sure you are getting the care you not only need, but deserve.