Updated: May 8, 2021
"People have always striven to control the events that affect their lives." Albert Bandura
Do you practice self-care?
In case you are thinking, what is self-care? Please note, self-care is a broad concept.
The World Health Organization defines self-care as "the ability of individuals, families, and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and to cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider."
The focus of this post is individual self-care. Self-care is any health-promoting behaviors that maintain or improve your quality of life mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, socially, and environmentally. Other self-care explanations include financial, professional, and intellectual. Self-care requires creating acts of meaning from your encounters with your environment. The symbolic meanings from your interactions help you make sense of your experiences and give purpose and direction to your life.
As we approach the end of the year, some of us are already making or planning the customary new year's resolutions. Many of these resolutions will consist of some sort of self-care activities. Anecdotally, the most popular self-care resolutions involve improving our health, finances, lives, and learning something new. There is a self-care revolution intended to improve our overall wellness. In some instances, technology is leading the way. Just look at the app store on your devices and see the number of apps dedicated to self-care. Many books are available on the topic: some old and some new. If you don't want a hard copy of a book, they are accessible as audiobooks and/or ebooks.
With most of the year in our rearview mirror, it is reasonable to contemplate a fresh start. Today is the most important of days. The day you begin being charitable to yourself. It's very kind of you prioritizing your self-care; it's the dignified thing to do yourself. You must desire your wellness amid significant demands of your time to many causes that may or may not add value to your life. I believe you should like to pursue your overall wellness. Don't reduce your life to a single moment when there is so much more to experience.
Deleting 2020 isn't an option so let it be instructive. Take this opportunity to build a self-care toolkit.
Suggestions to jumpstart self-care:
Ask for help when needed.
Try yoga and/or guided meditation to quiet your overactive mind
It is ok to say "No" when you find it necessary.
Do not do for others and expect them to reciprocate.
Relaxation is not equivalent to being non-productive.
Balance reality against expectation.
Make time for one healthy, enjoyable activity daily.
Practice writing a gratitude journal.
Learn vicariously by observing someone who practices healthy self-care behaviors. This type of learning may reduce the time spent learning by trial and error.
Check-in, having a connection with a friend, a mentor, a confidant, or a mental health professional who listens non-judgmentally to your concerns.
Unconditional positive regard from another person may help you feel appreciated. The person listens to your concerns, so you feel heard.
Unconditional positive regard does not mean the person agrees with you but listens without conditions.
Develop new healthy routines that are sustainable. Change one unhealthy habit at a time.
Identify your stressors and their impact on your mind, body, emotions, and behaviors.
Set healthy boundaries with people that take you for granted and maintain these boundaries.
Avoid avoidable suffering (even if it means leaving some friends behind)
Self-care also includes restful sleep, consuming a healthy diet, participating in regular physical activities, and maintaining healthy social relationships.
Consider completing these sentences as you develop your self-care toolkit.
I made it. 2020 was filled with many challenges but I learned to _____________________ so 2021 will be _________________________ for me ______________________
What are the barriers to your self-care?
How do you reduce these barriers?
What will be different once you begin living self-care?
Closing thought ...
Self-care is not an option; it is a requirement. I heard motivational speaker, Les Brown, say something to the effect, "we are all self-made, but only the successful ones admit to it."
Stay Naturally Curious
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. W. H. Freeman and Company.
Najavits, L. M. (2002). Seeking safety: A treatment manual for PTSD and substance abuse. The Guilford Press.
Rogers, C. (1951). Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications, and theory. The University Press.