By Alkmini “Mimi” Hormovas, LMFT, The Anxiety Relief Center
We all struggle. We are all challenged. We all lose focus. We all feel discomfort. The truth is we are all works in progress. In acknowledging that basic human experience, we can then expand the conversation to what can be done on a daily basis to help ourselves, and ultimately each other.
We can look for the resources that can help us through it all.
What Is Self Care?
Self care refers to the practices and activities that you engage in regularly and consciously to reduce your stress and maintain or increase health. Self care includes the things that help you recharge or recenter.
There is a common misconception in our society that self care is selfish and indulgent. Culturally, self care isn’t an approved way to take good care of ourselves. This results with many of us being unfamiliar with the term and weary of how much time, money and energy it will take. Many also, unfortunately, believe that self care is done at the expense of others and can put relationships at risk. There is also a notion that self care implies weakness because we are not strong enough or tough enough to handle our lives. These limited ways of thinking regrading the actual meaning and importance of self care link back to a society that devalues who we are and unfairly judges what feels good and nourishing to our body, mind and spirit.
What Are The Ways You Struggle With Self Care?
I encourage you now to take a moment to think about the ideas and beliefs you have about self care. What are the ways you struggle with self care and it’s importance in your life? What is holding you back from taking care of yourself in the ways that would be beneficial and nourishing?
The truth is that when we don’t attend to ourselves, we burn out and as a result our personal and professional lives suffer. Every day is a balancing act between our work, home, family, friends, and personal needs. It is important to note that personal needs include the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It is all too easy to forget about our own basic needs and wants with so much to juggle. Consider self care a necessary survival skill in our fast-paced, high-expectations world.
Taking a self care inventory can bring up hard truths about the ways we treat ourselves on a daily basis. It is important to not to get down on yourself for slacking on self care. My hope and wish is that in being truthful with yourself, you will be empowered to make some conscious and deliberate changes.
Giving From Our Abundance
Self care isn’t always instinctual and is definitely not one-size-fits-all so there may be a learning curve involved. Give yourself time to find what self care activities and rituals work best for you. These changes will undoubtedly support you, as well as those around you. At times, we can forget that the relationship with ourself is the foundation for all relationships. Treating ourselves with respect, care, love and compassion helps us treat others that way too. Jennifer Louden, an expert on self care, sums it up perfectly, “ Self care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance.”