It’s so great that we can have access to and see advertisements of great self-care resources. Passing by a spa or massage place always gives us this warm feeling of almost immediate relaxation. But if it feels so good to just think about it, why don’t we always indulge in self-care? Kim goes into detail about which part of the self needs the most care and the repercussions of not tending to your own needs.
What is Lack of Self-Care Costing YOU?
By: Kim Openo, LAPC, NCC
Self-care is quite a buzz word in the world of counseling. Here at A Place for Me Counseling, we work right in the heart of Little Five Points in Atlanta. This building has a shoe store with products exclusively for comfort, a studio with a massage therapist and a zero gravity/de-sensitization business to feel the ultimate in relaxation of body and mind, and a yoga Zen work-space where one can learn and practice Zen meditation. It seems as if our entire building is dedicated to taking care of self, so we are reminded of it every day as we pass these businesses on the way into our office.
However, even with these reminders I find myself coming to work a little too tired, a little too stressed, and a little too over-scheduled to partake in anything involved with self-care. So I ask myself, “What is not taking care of yourself COSTING you?”
First how is your PHYSICAL HEALTH? Is your body getting enough sleep? Are you putting in some exercise that gives strength to body and soul? What about the fuel going into your body? If my clients and myself represent a good section of the country, then the answer is “no”. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition are the first lines of defense against burn-out and illness, so they should be the first items on our list of self-care.
Are you taking care of your EMOTIONAL NEEDS? Are these needs getting met or are you too busy running around taking care of everyone else? Is your brain feeling fried by keeping up with your family’s schedules? Let go of some of that responsibility, learn to delegate, and take care of yourself as a priority. Reality is when you take care of yourself, you are better at taking care of others too.
RELAXATION is very important to self-care. To some, this could mean a hot bath with a good book and a nap, but to others it could mean mountain biking in the woods back and forth to a rock climb. Get a massage or laugh really hard while playing with your kids’ toys. Take a weekend day in your pajamas with your children watching movies you all enjoy. Walk about your neighborhood enjoying the sights and smells of your surroundings. Do anything that is unplanned fun and gives you a smile.
The SPIRIT is also a component of the whole person. The spirit is the purpose that one feels for being part of the world and community. For some, this is accomplished in a religious community or meditating with a group. For others, volunteering and helping others gives a lift in spirit. Spend time with friends and family that are dear to you. Laugh until your sides hurt with kids and spend time doing nothing but catching up with a family member you have not seen in some time. Remember that you do not live in a vacuum and enjoy the company of those that love you.
Every one of these components is needed in small pieces to contribute to complete self-care, and it is obvious as a client begins to make a tiny change, but notices a huge difference in symptoms of depressions or anxiety. Even after something as simple as taking time out to do a 5 minute relaxation meditation three times a day can significantly reduce anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed. What is NOT starting with 15 minutes a day for yourself costing YOU?