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.Jennifer Louden
I’ve found myself having the conversation about self-care with several clients lately. Many of these clients have no problem doing for others, but when I suggest they do something good for themselves, I’m often met with a confused expression or quick dismissal. For many, self-care is a negative thing and a challenge to put time, energy, and resources toward their own emotional, mental, and physical well-being. As the above quote suggests, you cannot do for others if your well is dry.
Self-care begins with taking care of your basic needs including eating, sleeping, bathing, and medical needs.
Self-care also includes activities to help you relax and de-stress. It is also maintaining relationships and finding balance between work life and personal life. Failure to attend to these needs could result in exhaustion, burnout, illness, and even possible hospitalization.
Self-care could be as simple as taking a break in the day to sip your favorite tea, getting a massage, going on a power-walk, to enjoying a weekend getaway.
In terms of relationships and work balance, it may mean setting boundaries. Everyone’s needs for self-care are different, but we all benefit from practicing self-care. Parents especially need to model this behavior for their children. When you do so you will notice you are better able to support others as well as experience more satisfaction and happiness in life.
If you are aware that you have been struggling in this area, working with a counselor can help discover the root of the cause. It may be you are experiencing depression, have poor self-image, or involved in a co-dependent relationship. Survivors of abuse often find it difficult to care for themselves. Self-care is vital to your emotional, mental, and physical health.
Written by: Ann Sheerin, LPC