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  • Self-Care

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    Self-Care

    Oftentimes, we treat self-care as an afterthought. We wait until we reach our lowest, the point at which we realize something needs to change and hence, we turn to self-care. However, this positions self-care as a band-aid, a temporary fix. It is important to shift our thinking to perceiving and using self-care more proactively, as a preventative measure. By doing so, we are able to better preserve ourselves and our well-being.

    Benefits of Self-Care

    Self-care has numerous benefits, all of which are heavily supported by research. There is a strong relationship between self-care and well-being, both physical and mental. Self-care can function to enhance the quality of our lives and can also help us to manage stressors in a relatively more effective manner. It is important to carefully consider our perceptions of self-care. Likely due to portrayals which are often conveyed in mainstream media which posit self-care as something that is often extravagant or expensive, many of us may perceive it as a luxury which is not attainable for us. However, it is important to remember that this is not the case.

    Self-Care can be anything…

    Self-care can be anything and everything and can be found within the most mundane of tasks. It does not have to be extravagant or expensive. Self-care can be as simple as completing a breathing exercise in the morning, reading for 15 minutes before bed, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. The essence of self-care lies in the fact that it gives us a moment to be with ourselves, be present, and nourish our minds and bodies. Even the most mundane moments can be transformed into a moment of self-care. Take for example, something as routine as washing your hands or doing the dishes. You can make this daily task more enjoyable by using a scented soap you like and taking a moment to enjoy the scent and noticing the feeling of the suds and water on your skin.

    Self-Care is sometimes not doing self-care…

    An important consideration regarding self-care which many individuals may be able to relate to is that sometimes it can be a source of guilt. For example, if you create a plan to go for a run every morning and fall short of doing so, it may lead to some feelings of guilt,
    disappointment, or shame. This is a normal and valid experience. However, in regards to self-care, it is important to remember to have self-compassion and be kind to ourselves, even when we cannot get to our self-care. Doing the opposite defeats the purpose of self- care. Rather, it is important to be patient with ourselves and approach ourselves with non- judgment. Just as important is setting small goals, and being realistic and compassionate. This can be done by engaging in self-care instinctively. On some days, self-care may look like skipping out on that run in the morning, and that is perfectly okay. It is important to remember that you deserve self-care. You deserve to do things that you
    enjoy and which nourish your mind, body, and soul. Self-care does not have to be earned, nor does it have to be a luxury. You are worthy of self-care.

    Conclusion

    Self-care looks different for different people. Sometimes it is participating in an activity, and other times it is respecting your limitations and need for rest. Often it is speaking to yourself as if you are your best friend. You deserve self-care. You deserve to do things that you enjoy and which nourish your mind, body, and soul just as you deserve rest. Self-care does not have to be earned, nor does it have to be a luxury.

    “Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” – Audre Lorde