Self-Care: It Isn’t Selfish
By: Justine Pak, MAS-MFT, LAMFT
How many times do we reach a point in our week where the burnout is so real that it radiates from our toes to our eyeballs? For many, self-care is a laughable thing viewed almost as a luxury or impossibility. Who really has the time to escape to the spa or to take a long hike through nature? There is always something that needs to be done, whether it’s a mouth to feed, a deadline to meet, or going to appointments. What we often forget to do as busy human beings is to check our “batteries” when needed: Are you feeling great? Good? Just okay? Struggling? Empty? I’m guessing most of you are in constant survival mode and sleep is the only pocket of rest allowed in your schedule. When we are in this mode all the time without a break from time to time, everything starts to blur together. We end up dropping the ball or becoming so strained that we can’t even figure out what we need to feel better anymore.
Who knew that there were so many ways to do this thing! Consider some of these items in your own self-care routine:
Physical: go for a walk, drink enough water, get a massage, grab an avocado instead of the chips, sleep earlier, ask a loved one for a hug.
Emotional: acknowledge your feelings, identify triggers, increase your empathy, manage stress effectively, therapy, affirmations, journal.
Mental: learn a new skill, practice mindfulness, listen to podcasts, read a book, unplug from technology, declutter your room, take a class.
Social: call a friend, set boundaries, join a group, visit a relative, host a dinner, meet your neighbors, start a blog, go on a date, stop scrolling mindlessly.
Spiritual: discover your beliefs, prayer, meditation, yoga, spend time in nature, list 5 things you’re thankful for, alone time.
Personal: positive hobbies, figure out identity and purpose, get a haircut, buy new underwear, identify core values, make a vision board of goals, budget.
Professional: know your value, work-life balance, continued development, take sick days, time management, eat lunch and use the restroom.
Remember, it’s nearly impossible to maintain healthy relationships, to meet your needs, and to stay healthy and motivated without self-care. We may think we can run on an empty gas tank, but eventually something will give out and we may miss out on the thing most people want most: happiness!