What is self-care and why is it important?

What is self care and why is it important? The following is a short guide to help you understand what self-care is and how to get started. Implementing your own personal self-care plan is a great way of investing in your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

…if you feel “burnout” setting in, if you feel demoralised and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself- Dalai Lama.
image credit Christopher Sardegna 

Practicing self-care regularly means to eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly, and take time out when you need it. This is the basic definition but I would also include a dimension of sexual self-care and spiritual self-care too. This all seems pretty straightforward but most of us are too busy, too stressed, consumed with responsibility, technology and media to make the time for ourselves.

Taking time for ourselves is viewed as a luxury, many of us feel guilty when we do take time for ourselves. This is a very serious and disturbing phenomenon. Many of us only practice self-care when we are already sick or burnt out. The idea that we are not worth the investment in ourselves must be challenged.

In therapy I help my clients implement clear and realistic self-care strategies. Self-care is not a luxury nor is it a selfish act. It provides a safety net for you and the people in your life. Self care especially during therapy is essential. It gives you the energy and capacity to reflect and remain balanced. It enables you to contribute and support your work, family and relationships. Self care makes everything so much more manageable.

identify what makes you feel restored, rested, invigorated and satisfied

Self-care is a subjective experience, its is important that you identify what it is that makes you feel restored, rested, invigorated and satisfied. Its also important to recognise when you feel on edge or at your limits. When is it time to say no to others and yes to yourself? What self-care is really about is giving ourselves what we need and refusing what we don’t.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you” – Anne Lamott
  image credit Jon Tyson 

Self-care can be a difficult thing to practice when we feel stressed, depressed or anxious. Trying to implement a regular daily practice can feel overwhelming. In many ways therapy is the ultimate form of self-care, its a dedicated space just for you, usually once a week to really connect with your needs, desires and hopes. Its a deeply private and sacred time to focus exclusively on you. This nourishes us so much, it restores our sense of who we are and provides clarity for where we are going.

One of the best aspects of self-care is that the benefits extend to those around us. When we get our needs met we become better equipped to help others get their needs met too . This stimulates a sense of reciprocity between people. This has a profoundly positive effect on relationships, when each partner is able to self-care they remove a load from the other. Making space for a better relationship dynamic.

Self-care enables us to work better, communicate better, and simply feel better. If you have any questions or feel ready to make an appointment please contact me here.