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What you need to know about self-care

If you’re looking for information about self-care, you may find that a lot of what has been written on the topic is kind of generic or superficial. Unfortunately, not having the right information makes it hard to learn about how valuable self-care can be. This concept is about a lot more than just doing indulgent things for yourself from time to time or when you feel run down. (Although recognizing when you need to take a long, steamy bath with your email turned off is important, too!) But the truth is, self-care just gets oversimplified sometimes. It can be helpful to think of this concept in three broad categories: your body (physical), your brain (mental, emotional), and spiritual.

For your body, you might need to focus on doing things to rest and restore. Or release tension and energy through exercise. For your brain, it is about doing things that nurture your cognition, such as working on a puzzle, reading, learning something new. Spiritual self-care may encompass religion for some people, but it is a broader category than religion. It is something that connects you to the world around you and could be anything from yoga to volunteering to hiking.

Important areas of self-care

Your Body: Physical Health

As a therapist, I tell my clients to start with the basics. Enrolling in an advanced yoga practice will not be beneficial if you are sleep deprived and aren’t taking the time to eat well and get proper medical care. Make it a priority to get sleep, schedule and attend preventative doctor and dentist appointments, and nourish your body with healthy food and drink plenty of water. You do not have to be perfect. Any positive changes you can make will provide benefits!

Your Brain

How much time do you think you spend scrolling social media or watching TV? What would happen if you took that time and channeled it into reading a book, doing a puzzle, studying another language, or trying a new recipe? Challenge yourself to do this twice this week and see what you notice!

Your Spirit

The goal with this category is to connect to something larger than yourself. If you are not sure what this means to you, try to get outside. Spend some time in nature without any distractions and check in with your body and your mind. What do you feel? What do you notice? There is no wrong way to have spiritual self-care as long as you feel connected.

Self-care is an important part of wellness and mental health counseling. If you have questions or want assistance with incorporating more self-care into your life, please reach out today! 

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