The importance of self-care is something I think we regularly overlook. We’re so busy giving our time to others that it becomes increasingly hard to stop and think of ourselves and what we need.
I’ve been on my own emotional health journey since the loss of my father in my late teens and yet it’s probably only in the last couple of years that I’ve come to appreciate the impact self-care can have on emotional health.
I think I’m doing ok on the self-care front these days. 🙂
I’m delighted to be collaborating with my guest Dale Vernor today. Dale is sharing why self care is so important and tips on how you can practice self-care.
I hope you find inspiration and if you haven’t yet, start putting self-care into your routines.
The Importance of Self-Care
Like many people today, chances are good that your calendar is jam-packed with appointments, deadlines, and responsibilities. You may think that you barely have time to finish a cup of coffee, let alone exercise or take a few minutes for yourself. And like many people, you probably do not think twice about neglecting your own needs while caring for everyone and everything else.
Despite your busy schedule, practicing self-care may be one of the best things you do each day. After all, you likely spend hours caring for others – you owe it to yourself to take a little time to care for your body, mind, and soul.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
Today’s culture of overwork and overscheduling can leave us feeling overwhelmed, isolated, depleted, and ungrounded. This constant state of stress may lead to a myriad of health problems, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and diabetes. Stress may make it difficult to control emotions and prompt people to overeat. Some people may even turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.
Taking the time to care for your own needs may help curb the damaging effects of chronic stress on your physical and mental health. Nurturing yourself may increase your self-esteem, boost your happiness, and prevent burnouts. Making yourself a priority may remind others that your needs are important as well.
Three Ways to Practice Self-Care
For many of us, finding extra time each day to care for ourselves may be difficult. One way to make self-care a priority is to make an appointment with yourself. When you schedule work meetings, sports practices for your children, and parent-teacher conferences, block off time in your planner for self-care. Here are three ways to add self-care to your daily routine.
1. Prioritize Mental Healthcare
Sometimes self-care means seeking mental health care to address pre-existing trauma, anxiety, depression, addiction, or other mental health issues. Far too often, we are so busy caring for other people and meeting our responsibilities that we forget to care for our needs.
When addressing your mental health needs, part of your self-care routine may include finding a counselor you trust. If you have a substance abuse problem that you are ready to treat, one way to practice self-care is to find a dual diagnosis, holistic, or non 12 step rehab program that may help you start the recovery process. These centers focus on self-care over the traditional 12 steps that many rely on to overcome addiction and other personal issues.
Even if you do not have a mental health condition, seeking guidance from a therapist, a mentor, or a friend may help clear your mind and keep you from becoming overwhelmed with day-to-day stressors.
2. Build Your Support System
Building a strong support system is a great way to practice self-care. Your support system may include a scheduling weekly coffee date with your best friend, joining a walking club that meets every day before work, or a taking a monthly trip with your significant other.
Social support clubs or organizations, such as mental health support groups, parents’ organizations, young professionals’ clubs, or groups that focus on specific health conditions may be an integral part of your support system and may provide a network of people who understand you and your life.
If you practice yoga, tai chi, or meditation, attending a daily or weekly class may help build your support network while addressing your mental and physical health.
3. Focus on Healthy Lifestyle Choices
One of the best things we can do to care for ourselves is to focus on making healthy lifestyle choices. Prioritizing sleep is an excellent practice to boost our mental health and feelings of well-being. Try disconnecting from your computer, phone, or television at least an hour before bed. During this time, take a hot bath, sip some warm decaffinated tea, or practice meditation or deep breathing before heading to bed.
In the morning, you can practice self-care by practicing some yoga or tai chi or doing a quick 7-minute workout before getting ready. Before leaving for work, pack some healthy snacks such as carrots, fruit, nuts, or sunflower seeds to fuel your body throughout the day. By making simple healthy lifestyle choices, you may practice self-care throughout the day and keep your body feeling good.
You do not need to spend hours each day practicing self-care. In fact, sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of deep breathing to ground you and keep you from being overwhelmed.
Prioritizing your needs, relaxing, and taking a break from stress may make you more productive and a better caretaker to others. There is an old saying that you cannot pour from an empty cup. Take the time each day to fill your cup in ways that meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. After all, you are important and worthy of care.
Dale is a writer in the fields of mental health and addiction for Monarch Shores in California. After a battle with addiction Dale was able to find sobriety and become the first in his family to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Dale enjoys writing about mental health and addiction so that more people can understand these highly stigmatized issues. When not working you can look for Dale at your local basketball court.
This is not a sponsored post.