The New Year is the perfect time to embrace self-care. Practicing self-care is an essential part of your recovery. It does not have to be over-the-top, but simple and intentional ways of tending to your mental, physical, and emotional health can help you to effectively cope with the stressors that can lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression.
Why do we not practice self-care?
We live in a world that is constantly on the go and each of us balances multiple responsibilities. The overwhelming weight we put on ourselves can leave us exhausted and self-care requires energy that many of us lack.
Many of us often struggle with focusing on ourselves, putting ourselves first. Balancing home, work, family, and finances often means something gets left undone and that something is usually ourselves. But we have to remember, you have to be healthy before you can help others be healthy. Self-care is not selfish, it is essential.
How do I practice self-care?
- Don’t ignore your feelings. Use it as a tool to know when you need to focus on yourself. Regularly practicing self-care means learning to respect the relationship we have with our feelings and our body. We need to listen to our bodies and recognize when we need self-care and develop self-assessment skills. We can ask ourselves the questions, such as: “What is my body telling me?” “Do I need time alone or do I need to be with my friends?” “Do I need to rest, or do I need to exercise?”
- Take deep breaths. Did you know you can rejuvenate your mind and body by focusing on your breathing? Clear your mind of the clutter, close your eyes, and take a deep breath, focusing your energy on yourself.
- It is important for your overall health to get your body moving. Take a short walk, ride a bike for a few minutes, or take a swim. Daily exercise naturally produces hormones in your body that reduce stress and improves your overall health.
- Take a break from social media. We spend a lot of time in the digital world, especially on social media. We have even become a society that Instagrams our self-care, constantly obsessing over who is doing what to make themselves look and feel better. This obsession often leaves us full of negativity. Take a break from the virtual world and practice self-care that works for you and your body.
- This may seem simple, but so many of us put our sense of humor on the back burner. Laughter strengthens your immune system, increases your energy, and protects you from the effects of stress. Enjoy the moment and find your sense of humor.
- Spend time with people who lift you up. A key element of self-care is who you choose to surround yourself with. Avoid people who make you feel uncomfortable and who invite negativity. Delight in those who embrace you and bring a positive element to your life.
- Help others. You may not realize it but helping others is part of self-care. By lending a hand to those who need it you have a healthy distraction from negative thoughts and feelings. The emotional gratification you feel can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
These are only a few ways to practice self-care. It does not have to be expensive or extravagant. The most important part of self-care is that you are focusing on you and respecting your mind and your body. Regular self-care is a key element to sustained recovery and can help you take the mental health break that you need.
What do I do when I am overwhelmed?
Sometimes anxiety or depression may impact your daily functioning and professional help is needed. Reaching out for help is the first step in recovering and finding a socially fulfilling life. At Pasadena Villa, we offer the treatment you need to get you on the right path. Using evidence-based therapeutic interventions combined with social integration, clients are introduced to relevant real life strategies that help them meet their goals and regain control of their lives. Clients engage in a variety of practices that help them to develop life skills, health, and nutrition skills, and social competencies that facilitate the progress from clinical care to towards independent self-care.