Self-Care 101—The Personal Side

As I said in the practical blog on this topic, I never learned about self-care in school. In fact, I didn’t really learn about self-care or what we as therapists call “positive coping skills” until I was a young adult. Sure, I had ways to cope and I even had some positive skills in my “toolbox” such as journaling and exercising. However, until I became an adult I underestimated my need for self-care to nurture my mind and body.

For example, I knew that going for a run would make me feel better than staying up late to work more so that I could “be ahead” at the office the next day. And I knew that keeping my weekly standing coffee date with my friend would promote more feelings of peace than skipping out on her to binge watch TV. I just didn’t know how much I needed self-care until I got burned out.

How did I get burned out? Many years ago now, I overcommitted myself, I said ‘yes’ to everything, I worked too hard and played too little and I consistently put my needs last. It took about a year or a little less, but I totally and completely burned out. And this is how I learned about self-care…the hard way…in the trenches.

I made necessary changes and adjustments in my life, took walks, I read, I journaled, I rested on my days off and spent time with friends. I figured out what made me feel best and scheduled those things into my life. Most importantly, I communicated all of this to the people closest to me. I had genuine conversations with friends and family members telling them what I needed and what I could and could not do. I ended some commitments to make more time for self-care and I certainly did not take on any more commitments during that season.

I had always felt guilty about taking time for myself until I realized that it was absolutely necessary. I realized that if I wanted to love those around me well AND actually enjoy life, I needed time to take care of me. The same is true for you. You will be a healthier and happier person and be able to give more to those around you if you regularly take care of yourself. And if the people in your life are healthy and really love you, they will understand your needs and cheer you on as you find new ways to re-charge.

If you are struggling to engage in self-care, feeling burned out or don’t know how to communicate your needs to those closest to you, an Orlando psychotherapist can help. She can help you identify your needs, identify which activities will re-fuel you and teach you how to communicate your needs to your loved ones. Creating a self-care regime will give you a more balanced, peaceful and energetic life. Call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable mental health therapists.


Yolanda Brailey