I recognize the term self-care is at a point of becoming trite for most people these days. However, even though it is still something important to discuss and make sure you are practicing on a regular basis.
If you have not heard the term self-care or you are not quite clear what it means, let me break it down. I typically describe self-care as a wellness routine that you regularly practice. As the term implies, the focus is on taking care of your needs. A lot of times there is more emphasis on mental well-being with self-care, but it can also include physical self-care and spiritual self-care practices.
I personally see us as integrated and multi-faceted beings. So I typically like to encourage a self-care routine that focuses on not just the emotional well-being, but mental, physical, and spiritual. As a therapist I am trying to work to keep myself aligned as much as I can, so that I can be fully settled when I am present with people I am seeing in therapy. Some things that I have been practicing lately include taking more regular walks in my neighborhood or the local park. With the sedentary lifestyle that COVID-19 came with, I realized I had to be more intentional with moving my body around. The physical aspect of walking also helps me to process and clear my mind, so it provides a mental and emotional pay-off for me. It may not seem like much, but those 30-45 minute walks a few times a week help keep me going through my week.
One thing I always considered is the fact that you need a variety of aspects to compose your self-care plan. If I can't walk, I can get on my elliptical in the basement of my home. While it's not quite the same as being able to connect with nature outside, it does provide a physical outlet for any stress I am carrying. I also recognize that different things work for different people. Some people may hate walking, but find that they feel at home in a swimming pool for physical exercise or find they really enjoy doing yoga. The important thing is to find what works for you.
Think about your own wellness. Think about the state of your life and your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. How would you rate how you are doing in these areas, and what are some simple practices you can start putting in place for you? A more balanced you can show up better for the important people and aspects in your life. That is why self-care is so important. Taking regular walks provides check boxes in a few different areas for my wellness. So you don't have to do 10 different things each week, as it likely would not be practical to sustain anyhow. Try to commit to doing one thing that helps take care of you this week. Happy Sunday!