In this age of oversharing food photos and me-first behavior, much has been written about self-care. Unfortunately, many people associate self-care with indulgence – overeating, laziness, selfishness and so on.
What do I mean by self-care? Most of us find we spend our time taking care of ___ (fill in the blank): kids, jobs, parents, homes, gardens, lawns, cars, etc. Many of my clients are closer to caregivers than receivers. Their own needs are often subsumed to those of others. Being in service of others or a greater cause, however laudable a sentiment, can take a great toll, if not balanced with adequate self-care.
Taking time off to rest and recharge, exercise or be with friends are fueling rather than draining activities. Instead self-indulgence, is generally characterized by consumption.
And here is the connection to my favorite topic, confidence. A confident person knows that to be at one’s best, self-care is essential, and chooses to do it versus the many other demands on time and energy. In fact, self-care means more energy and ability are available.
Self-care means different things to different people and does not necessarily require a heavy investment of time or money. I find it useful to think of self-care in terms of different forms of well-being:
- Eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sunlight, fresh air
- Sleeping sufficiently to feel rested
- Paying attention to our bodies’ signals of dysfunction
- Getting a regular medical exam, vaccinations and using medications properly
- Limiting screen time
- Avoiding distractions and multi-tasking to enable focus
- Exercising our curiosity though reading, cultural pursuits, or hobbies.
- Continuing to learn regardless of age
Emotional and Social Self-Care:
- Staying in touch with friends and loved ones beyond digital means
- Giving and receiving love, whether from friends, romantic partners, children, parents, relatives or even pets
- Celebrating good times with friends and loved ones
- Sharing, not holding in, our grief
How do you take care of yourself? How often do you remind yourself that you deserve it?
More importantly, what do you commit to doing every day to take care of yourself?
Let me know.