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“Self Care” is a very trendy buzz word in our society today. When we take a moment to think about the question, “Do you care for yourself?,” this almost seems rhetorical or warrants a no-brainer type of response. Taking into consideration that there are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds in a day; It would almost seem impossible to NOT find time for yourself. However, the reality is the hours, minutes, and seconds can quickly pass us by on a consistent basis. This results in a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional breakdowns, which leaves us feeling depleted. This blog will focus on carving out time to understand and explore self care. Enjoy!

Self Care Is…

What is Self Care? According to Oxford Dictionary, self care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own self being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. This definition captures an essential part of self care which is, “taking an active role.” Self care doesn’t occur by happenstance or chance. It requires intentionality. The International Self Care Foundation, categorizes self care into seven pillars: knowledge and health literacy, mental well-being/Self Awareness/Agency, Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Risk Avoidance, Good Hygiene, and Rational use of products and services. Lacking quality in one or multiple of these areas can create a foundation of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Many chronic illnesses like hypertension or elevated cholesterol and psychological ailments like anxiety and insomnia result from pervasive stressors we have in our lives. Toxic or high demanding work environments can lead to burn out or compassion fatigue. Unhealthy romances, friendships and even family dynamics can impact the ability to care for self. Self care is being balanced. Self care is important because it reminds you that your needs are a priority in life. It is impossible to pour from an empty cup. Self care is the act of filling up your cup first in order to thrive in other areas of your life.

Self Care Is Not…

Self Care is NOT forced! If you feel for one moment that you are under pressure to relax, it is not self care. Self care is also to not be confused with: being selfish, for people with time and money or numbing behavior like drinking, smoking, casual sex or impulse shopping. Self care does not require filling up a “to do list” to feel accomplished. These actions are temporary fixes and coincide with the concept of numbing. When we avoid and seek quick resolution, it only makes us fall into a pattern of neglecting our true needs and nurturing the core of our being.

Self Care Suggestions…

Creating a healthy practice of prioritizing oneself is crucial in developing a strong sense of self. Self care enhances self esteem, confidence and boosts physical and emotional health. The day to day practice of caring for ourselves in a meaningful way will overtime add to long term well being. Here are a few suggestions for self care. These can be implemented daily or as needed.

Sleep
Having a consistent sleep routine, not only makes you well rested but it optimizes your ability to function and strengthens your immune system.

Setting Limits
Boundaries create safety and help to manage stress. Setting limits prevents you from taking on other people’s feelings or responsibilities. It also boosts self confidence.

Spend time doing what you genuinely love
Pamper yourself, it is ok. Stay in for the night or go out with friends. Visit family or a loved one (that makes you feel alive). Take that hike. Create that memory!

Ask yourself, “Am I Being Effective?”
Examine if your actions are helping or hurting the situation. If your actions are helping, continue to do more of what you are doing. If your actions are hurting, STOP what you are doing, and do the opposite. Yes- it can be that simple.

Self Care is Self Love

You are your most valuable asset. The job, relationship, friendship, or even finances will not be sustained if you are not well.

If you feel that you are having a difficult time carving out that space to care for yourself or would like to explore more around self care, please feel free to reach out to one of us at Optimum Joy! Be intentional, yet gentle with yourself as you start your journey of love. Self care is a necessity! Call today!

Written by therapist Sharda Wright

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