What exactly is ‘self-care’ and why is it such a big deal? Self-care represents
- tending to one’s self as if we are our own best friend
- paying attention to our body when it feels tired, hungry, thirsty, or when our skin is too wet, dry, cold, hot
- sometimes saying “No” to a poor choice and/or “Yes” to a healthy one
- a gift of love we give to ourselves.
We are the only ones in the world who can facilitate our own self-care. If you are a busy person click here . . . and if you have the added blessing of children, click here for additional hints and tips on how to work self care into your hectic schedule.
Okay. So why is it so important? Without proper self-care, we become burdensome to others as the neglected mind, body or spirit must inevitably suffer.
If we don’t give ourselves the necessary care, sooner or later, someone else will be in a position to do so – and then the scenario takes on an entirely different tone. Are you wondering if you are neglecting yourself? If you think you might be, click here to check.
Help is out there. Consult with your primary health care provider for possible interventions. You deserve to feel joy. If you do self-neglect or self-abuse, then a well trained mental health professional (psychologist or social worker, for example) might be able to offer you keys to free yourself from your own chains that hold you down.
We owe it to ourselves and to those we say we love to pay attention to the signals our body gives us. The body speaks on it’s own behalf and on behalf of our mind and spirit. When the mind or spirit suffers, the suffering is revealed by the body. For some “New Age” meditation music click here; for Tibetan meditation, click here; for Native American shamanic music, click here; yoga guidance for beginners, click here.
Personal self care is essential to maintaining balance, and suggests an interest in maintaining wellness. Personal self-neglect may suggest ‘off-balance’ issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. You are in control of these decisions.
What about when we observe that a ‘dependent’ or one who is in charge but may not have the mental capacity to BE in charge (youngster or elder) is neglected (either by a care giver OR by him/her self)? If you become aware that a family member or other loved one is neglected or self neglects, click here for some help. Click here for additional resources.
Back to the topic of ‘self-neglect’ and finding the time to reclaim, reestablish and maintain balance in our mind, body and spirit . . .
The 21st century is filled with 24/7 demands.
- Elementary school aged children are “on-call” for friends at all hours of the night.
- Demands, around-the-clock, need to be met by high school and college students who have papers to write.
There was a time when the day began and ended according to the rhythm of the sun and moon; however, this is no longer reality. Now:
- reading doesn’t stop when the sun sets.
- studying isn’t done in libraries that close, bringing a forced end to research.
Precious moments of our day are taken from us unless we deliberately set healthy boundaries on how we invest our limited time – including investment of time in our personal health. Helping establish healthy boundaries and learning how to manage time are important skills to master and pass along to the next generation. Click here for tips on how to establish healthy boundaries, and click here for guidance regarding time-management.
If one concludes that self-care has suffered because of inadequate time management and/ or organizational skills, opportunity for growth has presented itself.
Whenever we take a look at ourselves and think, “This could have been done more effectively,” or “I could be happier/ more satisfied or productive . . . etc” then what we are REALLY experiencing is self-reflection and an awareness that we have the power to make decisions to repeat the familiar pattern or begin a new and different one. (If you didn’t check out the links above, this might be a good time to do so).
Self-reflection is a healthy process by which we try to view ourselves through impartial eyes: a very difficult feat to accomplish. We are often prevented from doing so by the illusion of fear; that is, inner dialogue that suggests, “If you look at yourself you will be disappointed.” And yet, it is those with the courage to face the possibility of ‘disappointment’ who embark upon this exercise with the type of energy and desire that facilitates personal growth.
How can we ‘grow’ if we are not aware we have something within us that needs improvement?
The wise self-reflect often. They welcome ‘criticism’ and remain confident that they will not melt under the heat of inspection.
Q: How is this possible? What makes a person willing/able to take an honest look at his/her self?
A: Inner knowing. People who know, deep in their soul, that they are filled with positive energy and in search of truth, whatever it may be, are able to view themselves honestly, welcome impressions of others, and make healthy choices to facilitate healing of mind, body and spirit – their own and even for others who are open to this experience.
Time-management, organizational skills and self-care are inter-related. Some people are able to take a look at their day, understand the hours available, prioritize, and accomplish amazing things. It has been said, ‘when you want something done, give it to a busy person.’ I don’t know who coined that phrase but it rings true to me, over and over again. It has gotten me to redefine “busy” to the point where it can’t ever be used (by me, anyway) as a sufficient reason for NOT doing something.
When I find myself saying “No” to an invitation or additional task, it is because I am either not in the mood or simply overwhelmed by whatever I have set out to do for myself.
If there is a person, place or event that is REALLY important to me, I can almost always find the way to accommodate my schedule. I sometimes say “no” to a person, invitation or task as part of a healthy boundary setting exercise in order to make time for self-care.
Give yourself permission to set healthy boundaries and keep promises to yourself by strategically indulging in a bit of much needed self-care.
Keeping promises to yourself is how you continue to earn your own trust (click here for hints and tips on some valuable recommendations regarding self-development).