What is self-care and why does it seem so complicated?
What is your automatic response when you think of the term “self-care”? If it’s a positive response, than you are probably very good at implementing it! (Great job!) But if it was something like a yawn or an eye roll…it might be time to take a look at how you are meeting your own physical, mental and emotional needs. As one of the simplest, most significant forms of stress management, it always seems to be our last resort for a number of reasons. Here are 3 that I find to be the most prevalent:
We ALWAYS Take Care of Others Before Ourselves
See this for what it is though: codependence. Codependence occurs when a person sacrifices their own needs to care for others in a very unbalanced way (others needs become priority at all expenses). It leaves the caretaker with an overall low view of self as well as feelings of shame and insecurity. Yes, sometimes it seems that others needs are more important than our own (hello to all you caretakers out there!); and yes, helping others is ok. However, if you continually find yourself feeling resentful and empty, that’s probably a sign that you need to re-evaluate how you are prioritizing the needs of those around you versus your own.
We Don’t Have a Plan
Okay, so let me be real here, the LAST thing I want to do when I’m stressed out is “plan” for anything; can anyone relate? So here’s a brief neurological breakdown of one of the things occurring in your brain when you are stressed: during this time, the brain is flooded with cortisol which causes, among other things, an increase in activity in the amygdala. This is significant because the amygdala is responsible for our fear responses; therefore, stress triggers a fight or flight response. At this point, it is too late for a person to logically put together and process a plan for anything, let alone taking care of themselves.
We Don’t Really Know What Self-care Is
If you have ever been in any type of therapeutic setting, you have probably heard mention of this infamous term. But what is it…REALLY? In doing research for myself, I quickly began to realize that there are a lot of personal opinions out there about what self-care is/should be. So let me challenge some of your preconceived notions by saying that self-care is NOT just self-indulging or self-pampering; it’s the ability to choose behaviors that balance the effects of stressors in your life. This starts with self-awareness, and by that I mean, the ability to be aware of imbalance in your life, whether it be emotionally, physically or mentally.
So with this information, take a look at your own life. Where do you see imbalance? Do you need more sleep? Do you need to eat healthier? When was the last time you had a check-up? Do you keep going on vacations but feel overwhelmed by the amount of debt you’re in?
Remember, self-care is about balance, not elimination. By that I mean, that self-care will not solve or eliminate the stress in your life, but it can help you come to a better place physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to do something about that stress. So what’s your plan?
If you find yourself struggling with implementing healthy self-care or coming up with a plan, we would love to help! You can contact us at 832-421-8714 or by email here.