For November’s Staff SMART, I sat down with Wellness Counselor, Erin Risius, to talk about self-care. As we head into the holidays, the tendency is to run around, taking care of all the errands of the season and rarely taking the time to care for ourselves. In an effort to combat some of the stress and shift the focus to self, first, we defined self-care.
Self-care is the ability to prioritize our own needs along with caring for others. It is a way you can feed yourself from the inside out, renewing energy, focus, and your sense of wellbeing. With all the demands around us in our day to day lives, we sometimes sacrifice care for ourselves as we push it down to the bottom of the priority list. This could lead to health consequences if we don’t make a point of investing time in ourselves.
In order to be more Specific about self-care, here is a list of possible activities that can nourish you from the inside out:
The great thing about this list is that all of these ideas are Action-Oriented. Instead of trying to stop behaviors that aren’t in line with self-care (such as agreeing to spend time out with a friend when what you really need is a night in), they ask you to consider adding some healthy self-focused behaviors. The point of self-care is to move the needle just a bit in the direction of prioritizing self so that you become an equal priority to those around you. In order to make self-care Timely, complete your activities in a time frame that is approachable. Start with a 15-minute walk, or a 20-minute guided meditation.
Since self-care is so often neglected, it is important to start small. This helps you to ensure that your self-care goals are Realistic. Erin suggests also bringing in a support team to assist with your self-care efforts. Build your circle of trust, those you can engage in regular healthy behaviors with, such as a walking buddy or a friend to talk to when times get tough. Als,o consider bringing in some professional support to feel less overwhelmed and less alone. This could be in the form of a therapist, coach or physical therapist. Keep in mind that you are worth the investment.
Finally, in order to Measure your success with self-care, consider all the non-scale victories that come your way. Do you notice your energy level improving, your mind feeling more clear, or your mood being lifted? How about the quality of your sleep improving as well? All of these and more are potential benefits of prioritizing self. Start small today and be amazed at how much better you feel when you take the time for yourself!