Self-Care is an important topic to discuss as many individuals struggle to practice this. It is amazing how as individuals we can neglect ourselves so much! Many of my clients are really good at taking care of other people but are really poor at taking care of themselves. I thought I would take today to discuss a little bit about why self-care is so important, and list some of the benefits of self-care.
Do you know that commercial where you see the Energizer Bunny? What happens when that Energizer bunny runs out of charge? Well, the Energizer bunny will die. At least we don’t have to worry about dying but we do have to worry about recharging our batteries. Self-care enables us to live on a charged battery all of the time. It is basically the simple act of being good to yourself and taking care of yourself. Have you ever seen someone that just go’s go’s go’s, and then you find yourself asking them when they take a break? Or how do they do it? Well, I would have to say that either these individuals are riding off fumes or they are taking care of themselves when needed.
There is a multitude of coping strategies out there, and while some are healthy, some are also unhealthy. When we are busy busy people, we either choose a healthy coping strategy or an unhealthy coping strategy. Which one do you choose? I make it a point to take Fridays and Sundays off weekly. I don’t just do this because I want a day off, I do this to take care of myself. Occasionally I will work on a Friday, but I never work on a Sunday. This is my boundary and it is important that I have a day to recharge. Otherwise, I would not be able to continue doing the work that I do. Sometimes we just need to take a break from what we do on a regular basis. How are you taking breaks? Below I am going to post many of the benefits you will receive from practicing self-care.
Think about it, if you are just going and going and never resting or simply taking a day for yourself, how do you feel your productivity is? Probably not very desirable. It is important to take breaks. It’s also important to say no. If you are being overextended by people constantly wanting a piece of you, you will never fully rest. It is important to say no to things that affect your self-care. Many people struggle to say no. Is that you?
Boost your immune system
Believe it or not, good self-care can help your immune system. Ultimately what this means is that you might get sick less. Think about it have you ever just kept going and going and going, just to find yourself sick? This is what happens when we overextend ourselves. If you get sick then what good are you?
The more we take care of ourselves, the more we care about ourselves. The more we care about ourselves, the more our subconscious is receiving positive messages. You end up treating yourself as if you matter instead of treating everyone else like they matter and you are second best. If you care about yourself more, and ultimately this will definitely increase your self-esteem.
When we practice self-care, we also effectively navigate that by finding out what are the things we love and don’t love. When you are regularly practicing being good to yourself, while meeting your needs, you are actually learning more about yourself. You might find that exercise is a great stress reliever for you and therefore you need to do it every day. You might find that sitting down and reading a good book really relaxes your mind. Never the less you are definitely going to increase your knowledge about yourself and learn who you are.
Better at giving with more to give
Oftentimes when we take care of ourselves we sometimes look at it as being selfish. The reality of this though is that you are being far from selfish. Taking care of yourself helps you to give more to others. Imagine being tired and drained, and one of your friends comes to you for advice. I highly doubt you will have the energy to help them. I know that if I don’t take Sundays to relax my brain, I have nothing to give my clients. This is why it’s so important. So instead of looking at it as a selfish act, look at it as a way to give more of yourself.
Dr. Alison Mell, PhD, NCC, LPC