Self-care. It’s about time.
Hello. Welcome to my blog.
I chose today, July 24, 2015, to publish my first post because it is a great day. Not just because it’s Friday and the weather here in Toronto is spectacular. Believe it or not, according to Health Canada, today is “International Self-Care Day”.
Ahh…self-care. A topic close to my heart, and one that invariably comes up as an issue for most of my clients at some point over the course of treatment.
First, what is self-care? Self care is just as it sounds. Taking the time to take care of one’s self. This can mean a variety of things. It could mean following through with that resolution to quit smoking. Or, it could mean taking the time to eat lunch without trying to do something else at the same time. It might mean going to bed early rather than finishing another load of laundry. Or maybe it is about locking the bathroom door and taking a shower while someone else looks after the baby for a while.
What would you do to improve your self-care? Whatever it is, now is the time to stop putting it off and to start doing it.
Here is a revolutionary idea: experiment with putting your needs first for a day and see what happens.
Now, you will need to do some planning. It is not realistic to just drop everything to go get a manicure. But what if that manicure, yoga class, lunch with a friend, or walk by the lake (fill in restorative activity here), became a priority rather than something you will do if you can fit it in after you’ve taken care of everything and everyone else?
If you actually made self-care a priority, you might find that you start making different choices. You might start to re-evaluate the urgency of some tasks. You might start to consider whether some things could be delegated to others.
The process of negotiating time for yourself may also require learning new skills in order to effectively communicate your needs to your significant others and enlist their cooperation in your plan.
For me, my time for self-care is between 6 and 8 am, Monday to Friday. Whether I am sweating like crazy in a spinning class or running by the lake, that time is mine for taking care of my body and spirit. It allows me to burn off some of the negative energy that I absorb through my work, clears my head, and allows me to feel energized.
My morning workouts have become precious to me. I have to do this for myself. Otherwise, I literally become a less pleasant person to be around. I don’t sleep well, which leads to me being irritable, less focused and overall not the person I want to be.
To do this, my family has had to make some accommodations, which often means that my partner has to wake up far earlier than he would like. He absolutely hates waking up early. But he also appreciates the fact that I need this for my own physical and mental health. And I love him dearly for his support. Ultimately, my routine has become part of the routine for my household.
When we start talking about prioritizing self-care, people often express concern about being perceived as “selfish”. It’s not selfish, it is just being responsible. There is absolutely nothing selfish about taking ownership for one’s own health and well being. Besides, those around you are sure to benefit. It is far easier to give to others when the tank is full rather than depleted.
So there it is. I have given you the argument. Now it is your turn to put these ideas into action and make it happen. No more excuses. Besides, it’s International Self-Care Day!
Until next time…