Self-care can be understood in many different ways. In its simplest form, the term refers to our ability as human beings to function effectively in the world while meeting the multiple challenges of daily life with a sense of energy, vitality, and confidence. Self-care is initiated and maintained by us as individuals, it requires our active engagement.
There are different areas of self-care: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. No matter how one breaks down the dimensions of self-care, in the end, all of these different aspects are interconnected. Failure to take care of oneself in one realm can lead to consequences in another.
There is no formula for self-care. Each person’s self-care plan will be unique and change over time. Ultimately, we must listen well to our own bodies, hearts, and minds, as well as to the voices and messages from trusted friends, as we seek resiliency and renewal in our lives and work.
To better understand what self-care is, here are what it is not:
- Self-care is not about acting selfishly. Instead, healthy self-care is about being a worthy steward of the self – body, mind, and spirit – with which we’ve been entrusted. It is foolhardy to think we can be providers of care to others without being the recipients of proper nurture and sustenance ourselves.
- Self-care is not about doing more, or adding more tasks to an already overflowing to do list. Instead, healthy self-care is as much about letting go as it is about taking action. It has to do with taking time to be a human being as well as a human doing. It is about letting go of frenzied schedules, unhealthy behaviors, and patterns of thinking such as worry and guilt.
Self-care is more than just massages and pedicures. It takes our whole well being into account and it is necessary to prevent burnout and gives us energy to focus on our goals. The relationship we have with our self is the most important we relationship we have It is critical take care of and treat our self with kindness and compassion.
Check out this Self-Care Assessment to see which areas you might need to invest more time in.
Carlene Lehmann, M.A., LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Relationships Matter Austin in Austin, Texas. Carlene can support you in making your self care a priority. To schedule your appointment with Carlene, you can reach her at (512) 994-0432 or request an appointment with her on the Relationships Matter Austin Scheduling Page.