Self-Care 101—The Practical Side
In grade school, at least when I was growing up, we all took sex education class. I remember they separated the boys from the girls and talked to us about our bodies and how to protect them. They even showed us anonymous pictures of people with diseases so that we could know what the diseases looked like and be encouraged to take care of ourselves.
But did you ever take a class on mental health? Or self-care? I sure didn’t. Nowadays schools have school counselors, visiting (private) counselors that pull kiddos out of class to talk, support groups, self-esteem groups and so much more. However, if you are my age or older, chances are you never learned about self-care as a child or young adult in school. And if you have kids today, they probably are not learning about these things either unless you are taking them to see a therapist.
The purpose of this blog is to help you understand what self-care is, why it is important and how you can use it to maintain and promote mental health. I will also talk about how you can communicate your self-care needs to your family members and friends.
The first thing to realize when it comes to self-care is that your ability to consistently practice self-care directly affects your mental health. One definition of self-care is any activity you do to take care of your mental and emotional health. (Physical health is positively impacted through self-care too). Self-care involves activities that re-fuel you and give rather than take away from you. Without regular self-care you will feel tired and drained and are more likely to experience negative feelings such as anxiety or depression.
To engage in self-care to reduce the likelihood of feeling overwhelmed and experiencing negative emotions, you need a plan. First, you need to determine what activities re-fuel your mind and body. Do you enjoy journaling, exercising or having coffee with your best friend? Decide which activities you will do and then schedule them! Self-care, like anything else in life, must be a priority if it is going to actually happen.
I will speak more to self-care in the personal blog on this piece including how to communicate your self-care needs to family members and friends. For now, take inventory to determine how you are doing in the arena of self-care. Do you regularly engage in self-care? Are you feeling anxious or depressed? Are you trying to re-charge your mind and body, but still falling short? If you need support, a trained and seasoned therapist can help you learn ways to care for yourself and have a more regulated and peaceful life. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.