Jan 25th 2021
Let's talk about self-care. I have found that in recent times, self-care has become more and more a part of everyday vocabulary. But what exactly does it mean? Often times, when I ask people how they view it, they respond with things like bubble baths, face masks and hot tea. Unfortunately, if those don't resonate with you, you may be left scratching your head wondering if you have the ability to do this self-care thing. The good news is that it IS possible. While those are great examples of activities to do to unwind, it is by no means an exhaustive list.
Self-care can actually look very different for everyone. It can take a bit of self-reflection to figure out what it looks like for you, although I promise it is worth the effort. Try to take some time to think about the areas of your life that feel draining. Where are you losing energy? What do you need in order to feel more rejuvenated? Sometimes, this can look like setting boundaries with the people around you. Saying "no" to an invitation to connect with others when feeling depleted can be a good way to take some space to replenish. Other examples can include journaling, spending time in silence, disconnecting from social media, spending time with a loved one, or even catching up on some sleep. You will find that with trial and error, you'll be able to start tuning into the things that feel good. Overall, finding ways to take care of yourself is unique to your own needs and interests. Try not to let other people tell you what you "should" do, or what is (or is not) self-care.
Throughout your self-care journey, make sure to check in with yourself and monitor the things that you are turning to for comfort. Try to observe yourself from a stance of self-compassion. If you start to notice that you are turning to things that may negatively impact your health, it may be time to reach out for support to help you redirect your energy to healthier avenues. You can talk to your physician, mental health professionals, or community resources to help you access the assistance you need to get back on track.
Finally, I often hear people tell me that they cannot find time to engage with self-care. While I recognize that it is very difficult with such busy lives, your productivity and energy will benefit in the long run. One suggestion I make is to schedule it into your week the same as you would any other important commitment. Set aside a designated time that is dedicated to you. This may help reduce feelings of guilt toward it and help you get started.
Jessica Landry, M.Ed., RP (Qualifying)