Self-care is anything we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. It is an often over looked part of our daily lives, but immensely important. It is usually recommended and encouraged as a part of therapy as it is something that can be done within sessions and/or at home.
Engaging in self-care looks different for everyone. It simply depends on what feels rejuvenating, enjoyable and healthy for you. It can be as simple as taking a nap if you’re tired or as difficult as setting up strong boundaries with toxic family members. Sometimes self-care can feel selfish and that engaging in this activity means you care less about others. This couldn’t be further from the truth-usually by taking the time to take care of yourself you have the energy and mental health to be there for others when necessary.
Aside from doing activities we find enjoyable, there are also important aspects of self-care that involve changing lifestyle habits. Eating well, exercising, going to regular doctor’s appointments and tending to your spiritual needs are also ways to care for yourself. Neglecting these things can cause physical and emotional health problems and add to the stress in life.
Methods to assist with relaxation and de-escalation of emotions such as visualization and progressive muscle relaxation are things that can be taught within counseling sessions as well. They are also helpful for handling moments of anxiety and stress in everyday life. These simple tools can make a huge difference and only take a minimal amount of time to practice.
The effects of neglecting ourselves can be significant-from fatigue, headaches, depression, insomnia-some studies show it can even increase your chances for heart disease! There is no reason to not take care of yourself-especially when it can be relatively easy to do.