What is good self-care? How do we take care of ourselves? It is better to be consistent and not keep pushing until burnout. However, with that said one can always begin at anytime to care for ourselves.
For good self-care it is important to pay attention to our mind, body, and spirit.
This includes good rest, nutrition, moving our bodies, and attending to our spirituality.
Good sleep: we all have heard that good sleep hygiene is also imperative to our health and without can cause more harm to our bodies systems. Trouble sleeping? There are apps that can help. There are videos on YouTube of multiple ways to help support good sleep, and many blogs that inform one of best ways to approach this issue.
Good nutrition: our bodies work on what we put into our system in multiple ways. What we eat can affect our mood, energy and even health. Oftentimes, poor nutrition can catch up to us in the way of added pounds or other health issues. Discover what is healthy for your body and see if you notice changes in mood, energy, and health. Also keep up your wellness checks.
Our mood, and emotions, can affect our outlook. These too can be affected by our diet, sleep, and exercise. Dialectical Behavior Therapy has some great guidelines. Check out DBT-self-help online.
When I need a pick me up, I have found that taking care of my 5 senses can help. I have developed a plan to use when I am feeling tired or a bit down due to life or work circumstances. It doesn’t always have to cost a lot either. My go to that helps lift my mood and spirit is going to a hot house or plant store. I may or may not purchase anything, but I sure have found that it is a nice break to get out into nature even if it is close by. The sunshine, water, and smells can often give me a lift that can last for weeks as I remember and focus on the memories. What brings you some peace and joy?
Which brings up being out in nature, exercising. There are so many options here in Colorado. Move your body with what brings you joy. Our bodies were designed to move. I keep a yoga mat and weights in my office to take mini breaks and do mini workouts. Deep breathing is always a miracle to calm oneself! If you haven’t moved in awhile take it easy, move those joints, and ease back into some form of movement.
We all have times when we have limited energy, so being mindful of what we listen to and or watch. These days we have so much access to media. Working in an extremely stressful job at times, it is important to be aware of what you need to do to keep more balanced. I can control what I listen to, read, and or watch especially if I do not have much energy to manage all the emotions that can go with what I am allowing to enter into my mind. Be mindful.
Try to do things that truly bring you joy. This may mean to plan for the short term and long term. It does feel good to have things in the works that we look forward to. Spending time with loved ones and friends and knowing when we need some downtime is often a great plan to cope with added stressors that many of us are affected by in our current society.
Don’t forget to include spirituality. This can mean many different things to us all. Take time to slow down, be mindful, and look for the things that you are grateful for. What gives your life a sense of meaning and coherence?
Life is about balance and these amazing bodies of ours can cope with many things, however with the many changes that have occurred over the last several years and many of us may have more stressors going on in our lives which affect us, I cannot emphasize the importance of good self-care. Kindness and patience with ourselves is key, so as to best be able to cope with the many experiences life can bring us all.
So, understand and strive to know yourself, and bring the best into your life. That which supports you in having a life worth living!
This blog was written by Patricia Munroe MSW, LCSW Co-Responder Therapist