What do you think of when you hear the term self-care? Maybe a spa day, coffee with a friend or a bubble bath come to mind?
You are not wrong. However, self-care is a lot more than treating or pampering one's self. These are merely the tip, like the VERY tip, of the iceberg. Unfortunately, other equally or more important areas of self-care are regularly forgotten and ignored.
“Self-care” is arguably one of the most used terms in Occupational Therapy. In most health care settings self-care refers to the very basic things we need and want to be able to do to take care of ourselves, such as bathe, dress, groom, eat and use the toilet. It also includes mobility, communication, driving (or finding other means of transportation) and community management tasks such as paying bills and grocery shopping. Rudimentary tasks most of us take for granted. The base of an iceberg if you will.
So we have two extremes. What’s left in the middle is everything else we do to take care of our “self.” It makes up much of the foundation of Holistic Lifestyle Refresh, which includes eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough quality sleep, managing stress, being happy and limiting exposure to toxins. Collectively these help us to maintain and enhance our physical, mental and emotional health and well-being. Without these, the iceberg would not be structurally sound.
Self-care is unique to each individual. Maybe you don’t even know you are doing it? Maybe you need to do better? Scheduling time for self-care should be a priority for everyone. So often we get caught up in our busy lives and self-care, beyond the necessities, gets pushed aside and forgotten. Heck, we sometimes even skip the necessities!
Self-care is NOT waiting until you are sick or mentally drained to start taking care of yourself. Nor is it binge eating, getting drunk or doing drugs as a coping mechanism. Rather, it is being proactive to set aside time to engage in activities and develop habits that maintain and promote your health, manage and reduce stress and achieve balance, satisfaction, and happiness.
Think about what self-care activities you currently participate in. How often? Are they routine? Is it enough?
Most of us don’t make enough time for adequate self-care. The reasons are endless. Maybe some of these resonate with you?
Not prioritizing yourself
Poor use of time
Unaware of your self-care needs
Denial of what your body and soul need to thrive
Lack of self-love
Feel like you are already doing the best you can do
Lack of support
Fatigue and/or lack of sleep
Maybe you feel like you are managing fine? Hanging in there? Taking care of everyone else? Getting by? Your time will come?
That’s enough right?
If you are reading this you know it’s probably not enough. No matter the excuse, self-care should be a priority. If you plan ahead and make it routine it will take up less time and zero thought.
Scheduling time not just FOR yourself, but to TAKE CARE OF yourself can help with all these things:
Your ability to relax and wind-down
Relationships (with your kiddos, spouse, friends, coworkers, etc.)
Clarity on what is important
SIGN ME UP!
I started compiling a list of self-care ideas and then stopped. To say it was redundant would be an understatement. This entire website pertains to self-care! You don't need a list.
There are thousands of websites with lists of self-care ideas, many of which completely miss the mark. It is such a simple term, SELF-CARE, but the way it is viewed by most people is so skewed! Self Care is literally everything we need to do to take care of our selves, inside and out. From basic tasks most of us perform routinely (such ass brushing our teeth), to other equally important activities such as making healthy food choices, exercising and scheduling fun, which are unfortunately often seen as optional rather than essential.
Its time to rethink self-care! I encourage you to explore each REFRESH category, the rest of the BLOG, and the GOAL SETTING page to determine how you are going to start improving your self-care . . . TODAY!