Self care has somewhat become a “trendy” word to use. However, no matter how trendy it might be, there is no arguing about the fact that carving out time for yourself, has many, many health and wellness benefits.
Self care isn’t something I actively sought out until a few years ago. Probably when the word became more prevalent in conversations. Taking care of ones self, can often feel selfish. We are really good at making ourselves selfish and self-centered when we begin to think about the things that we would like to do. Or the things that light us up and re-energize our batteries. Why is that??
Taking care of yourself can be as simple as eating healthy. Or going out on a 15 minute walk. Self care doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. It doesn’t need to come in the form of visiting a 5 star hotel & spa for a weekend by yourself. To me, self care is doing things that physically make you feel joy and things that make you feel like you’re filling yourself back up with energy and life. We deal with so many things in life that suck out our positive energy. And not paying attention to how that makes you feel and just pushing through it, will often lead to stress, depression, and feeling completely overwhelmed with life in general.
The summer of 2015. I just turned 30. I was ready to take on a new decade & make the 30’s some of the best years of my life. Not even a week after turning 30, I had, what I considered, a bit of a mental breakdown. I was overwhelmed with situations that were not even of my own. I have always been a helper and the mother hen, who wanted everyone to be happy and live healthy. At this time, I was focused a lot on two people who were close me, who were unfortunately going through a lot of things in life. It was not unlike me to fully get wrapped up in how I could help them, versus taking a step back to access how this was impacting me mentally and emotionally.
I hit a wall mentally and woke up one morning thinking, “I do not like how all of this is making me feel.” I felt like there was a lot of pressure on my chest and my mind was racing a million miles a minute. Later that day I opened up a google search and typed in “counselors” in my area. Of course several popped up, but after consideration, I found a photo of a woman who owned her own independent practice and emailed her to set up an appointment.
This was an enormous deal for me. I have always been such an advocate for people getting therapy and counseling, but never considered it for myself. I was (and still struggle) with having the attitude of “I’m ok. I’ll figure it out myself.” Part of me felt that I was failing reaching out this far. And feeling guilty that my family & friends weren’t enough for me, or that I was disrespecting them in some way. It’s really strange to think of it like that now, but I truly felt that it was a last resort type situation. I had never been formally diagnosed with anxiety or depression, nor taken medication for anything related to those either. It was a scary step to take, but one I am now eternally grateful for.
I could not have chosen a more perfect therapist. We started out seeing each other a few times a month and now I still go about once every 3-4 months. Honestly, I don’t think I would need to continue seeing her, but having that third-party point of view is awesome. I like to think that she keeps me in check and better focused on my path. Our sessions have helped me grow tremendously both professionally and personally, and I really feel grateful to have faced uncertain territory by making that initial appointment. It has made me even more of a firm believer that EVERYONE would benefit from talking to someone outside of their family and social circle. We all have things that weigh on us from time to time, and it is 100% normal to ask for help.
So this action I took, I consider one of the best self care actions I have implemented in my life. It lead to me facing truths about myself and how I was living my life. It helped me further explore other ways I could practice self care. I learned that learning to say ‘no’ was something I needed to do to live more free. I learned that by saying ‘no’ it meant I wasn’t doing anything wrong or that I was a bad person, quite opposite actually, I was looking out for ME. I’ve been continuing to learn that I don’t need to overextend myself for people or situations that aren’t taking into consideration what’s best for me. It’s an ongoing learning situation, but will have life long positive impacts on this beautiful life of mine.
Self care can be SO many things. It can be hiking, taking time to read that book you’ve been meaning to dive into, meditating, a mud mask after a long day of work, or just laying outside listening to the birds, the wind, and feeling the sun shine down on your face. If it brings you a sense of peace and contentment, take note, and enjoy.
What types of activities do you particularly find to be part of your self care routine? I’d love to know!!