By Michelle Rawlings
Not enough time to hear myself think!
In thinking about mental health and wellness one subject comes to mind is Self Care. It is so important when our lives are filled with taking care of and supporting others that we remember to take time for our selves. At my recent residency, self-care was a repetitive message. While learning about working with couples and families, I also learned about the importance of not forgetting to make sure we are healthy too.
5 reasons why Self-Care is important.
1. Distraction, if we are not taking care of our selves it may be hard to concentrate on the important things in life. When our minds are filled with worry, concern, stress, anxiety, about how we are going to get through this, who needs what and when, or just everyday things we become distracted. When it’s hard to concentrate because we just have too much other stuff on our mind that is when we become distracted and make mistakes. These mistakes can add to our daily stress. This is one reason why it is important that we maintain our focus through Self-Care.
2. Loss of patience. Wow what a difference it makes when we have patience. Patience for our co-workers, customers, family members (including our children). For some patience comes naturally, for others it takes work. Can you imagine how much harder it is to maintain your patience if you lack Self-Care.
3. The wash over effect. This is the feeling one gets when the passion is gone and every scenarios you encounter lacks luster. You begin to view things as all the same. It reminds me of the boy who cried wolf and then when it was really important no one cared because they had heard it all before. Well that’s the wash over effect. You are going through the motions but its all the same, the interest is gone, and you no longer care what happens one way or the other. Self-Care can be inspiring and help breath new life into your perception.
4. Burnout, I have talked about this before, a major part of burn out happens when we do not make sure we have a self-care plan. Burnout is the result of not paying attention to your own warning signs and eventually the passion you had is nowhere to be found.
5. Finally, how can you expect to take care of others if you are not taking time for yourself? For all the previous reasons listed, I feel that this is one of the most important things to consider when investing in Self-Care.
So lets talk about what self-care actually means. Well it is different for everyone. What may work for one person may not for another in the same way. Some may feel that reading a book or magazine, working out, getting a pedicure, or even baking works for them. Basically Self-Care is the act in which we make sure our mind is ready for our everyday lives. Think of meditation and how it used to relax the mind. It’s used to find inner peace and clarity. Think of Self-Care as your personal act of meditation. It can be something as little as concentrating on your breathing and counting to ten to as big as preparing and running a marathon. Now if you are like me, thinking about running a marathon does not sound peaceful and raises my anxiety, but the point is to find what works for you. Set your goals for self-care to reasonable sights and make sure they are obtainable. No need to add stress to your life about taking care of yourself, its kind of self-defeating.
Basically whatever it is that you find helps is up to you. The important part to remember is to be MINDFUL of your needs and make sure you are taking time for self-care. Finally, one reason I hear people talk about not taking time for them is time. But I honestly feel that if you do not set aside a little time for self-care, you will be spending more time dealing with the repercussions later.
Now, how do you Self-Care?