Self-care has been defined as the process of taking care of oneself with behaviors that promote health and active management of illness when it occurs. Individuals engage in some form of self-care daily with food choices, exercise, sleep, and medical/dental care.
According to Socrates, 'care of self' and to 'know thyself' are fundamental principles regarding the healthy relationship we have with ourselves, and others. In taking care of ourselves and knowing ourselves, we reduce the risk of harming others because we become more aware of our boundaries, means and potential.
In my intake sessions, one of the main questions that I ask is if the client has any self care practices. Very often, many are surprised by the question, others pause and think hard to come up with an answer and very few have a routine of self care practices.
During the therapy work, I encourage clients to start creating these habits and explore why it's easier to take care of others but struggle to take care of oneself. One would think that making time to take care of ourselves would be more automatic and organic but somehow as human beings we aren't wired this way?
Self care can be very simple and yet multidimensional and multi-layered. Deep down this notion connects to being able to love ourselves unconditionally and believe that we are worthy enough to nurture ourselves and prioritize our needs. Not a simple concept at all.
Hopefully when you read this article you can take some time to explore if and what your self care practices are. Afterwall self care is self preservation and we can't take care of others if we don't know how to take care of ourselves. And if you need some tips and ideas where to start, here are some of my suggestions.
Make time at the end of the day to decompress and process emotions and feelings and yes I suggest that watching Netflix can be a great way to do this (thank God for Netflix for getting us through the Pandemic, right?).
Create an exercise routine even if it's stretching at home, a walk during lunch break, or a quick run. You don't have to do this every day and sometimes starting once a week is enough to get you motivated and create a nice routine.
Schedule your annual medical and dental appointments. Yes, this is crucial and it means you are actually taking care of your body, the “home” you actually live in.
Schedule a massage, a facial, buy some flowers.
Try to limit your time on social media if you find that it's not helpful.
Keep your space organized, clean and decluttered. Sometimes our space represents the state of our minds and organizing it can help us organize our thoughts and purge the non constructive ones.
OH! I almost forgot, schedule time with a therapist and discover whether you are ready to do the work on yourself.
There are so many other things I could suggest but you have to find the right path to self care so you can incorporate it into your daily life automatically and organically. “If it makes you happy, do more of that”.