The term self-care describes the actions that an individual might take in order to reach optimal physical and mental health.
Self-care can also refer to activities that an individual engages in to relax or attain emotional well-being.
In general, the goals of self-care are to find a state of good mental and physical health, reduce stress, meet emotional needs, maintain one's relations, both romantic and platonic, and find a balance between one's personal, academic, work and professional life.
Why Self-Care is important
In our busy lives, we have many responsibilities, and we are tempted to take care of everyone and everything else before we take care of ourselves.
Individuals who care for others, either professionally or in personal life, may find themselves especially drained if they do not devote enough time to self-care.
But I’d like to suggest that you will do better to take care of yourself first. What seems selfish is actually self-evident: Once you have met your own needs, you may often find yourself better able to assist others in meeting their needs. We do a better job with our responsibilities when we have the strength, energy, and emotional wherewithal to attend to them.
Here is a guide to get started. We benefit from making sure that we replenish ourselves with “fuel” from each of these 4 key sources from time to time: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self-care.
Physical fuel involves using the body. Eating well and exercising regularly are both aspects of physical self-care that have been shown to improve an individual's state of mind. Many reputable sources recommend about 75 to 150 minutes of physical activity each week. You do not have to run a marathon or pump iron; a simple 30-minute walk at least a few times a week will suffice. Prioritizing sleep is another physical self-care tactic. Try committing to 7-9 hours of sleep each night for a week and see how you feel when properly rested.
Emotional/relational fuel comes from experiencing emotion (both good and bad!) and from fostering the “fuel pipeline” of social connection. This type of self-care can often be accomplished by setting boundaries with people, especially those people who are not positive or supportive and may have a negative effect on one's mental state. An individual who has trouble meeting emotional self-care needs may find it helpful to limit time with people who are neither supportive nor helpful. Good, healthy relationships can help an individual maintain a positive frame of mind.
Cognitive fuel involves using the mind. Regularly engaging your brain with puzzles and creative activities is a great way to make sure you are practicing mental self-care, as is simply taking a little time to be alone. Even people who thrive in the company of others generally need some time on their own to rest and process experiences.
Many assume the spiritual component of self-care means spending time in a church, mosque, temple, or other religious building. Religion, however, is only one expression of spirituality. You can practice spiritual self-care in many different ways such as volunteering to help others in need, spending time in the great outdoors connecting with nature, or reading about religious practices and values that intrigue you.
How Therapy Can Help With Self-Care
Therapy can often uncover the root of a failure to care for one’s self. If depression is the cause, therapy can typically help relieve symptoms of depression and support improvement of one’s mood, which will generally lead to one becoming able to meet self-care needs once again. Therapy can often help families learn how to cope with a loved one's dementia.
The failure to care for oneself due to wanting to please or care for others, can indicate some difficulty with self-image and/or with setting boundaries. Therapy can help an individual develop a stronger self-image and become better able to say no to those who ask for too much.
Self-care works best when it is approached with a sense of curiosity, awareness, and open-mindedness. As we do this, we become better and better at keeping our lives and selves running smoothly; we become skilled mechanics in the workings of our own well-being.
Sharing your feelings and thoughts in a non-judgmental and compassionate setting I can help you make positive changes in your life by phoning Cabin Counselling on 087 6203371 to make an appointment.