Self-care is a regular, intentional process of devoting oneself to protecting and sustaining mental health.
Small things make a difference.
When we are busy, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. Or if we make too big a plan, we might give up if we can’t find the time and energy to see it through. Break rituals are activities that we embed into our day to help us stay calibrated and avoid mental overload. We can’t falsely promise ourselves that we’ll relax once something gets scratched off our lists, because in the meantime, 10 new things will pop up. Just as when we neglect ourselves there is a cumulative effect on our health, the same is true when we make a regular point to nourish our mind, body and souls.
Self-care comes in many shapes and sizes.
There’s no one size-fits-all formula. Key activities include lifestyle medicine, creative pursuits, hobbies, time with loved ones, and positive mental dialogue. Science shows the tremendous value in all of these activities to protect and bolster mental health. Engage in a process of reflection (therapists, coaches and loved ones can be helpful in co-creating ideas) that helps you identify high impact activities that can be woven into your routines.
Self-care starts with giving yourself permission.
Many of us are uncomfortable with the idea of taking time for ourselves. We are used to taking care of everyone else and it’s a big shift to actually focus on you. It feels counterintuitive. This can demonstrate your strong sense of values and pride in serving others, but it can also tie into a deeper martyr complex or sense of unworthiness. When we give ourselves the green light and understand that we are worth our own investment because we are important, we are more likely to maximize the benefits of self-care. You must give yourself permission to take care of yourself, and make sure you are taking break rituals everyday. Sustainability is everything: You are worth it.