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The Importance of Self Care

Look After Yourself written on a used blackboard
Denise’s note: I emphasis the importance of self-care with my clients. It is practically impossible to manage one’s life if mental and physical health are constantly sabotaged due to poor self-care. Speaking to this point is guest writer Amy Lee who is currently studying at Kansas University as a dietitian intern. And yes, Amy is my brilliant daughter.
The holidays are coming up, and while this season is called the most wonderful time of the year, for many it can also be very stressful. Between family gatherings, preparations, and schedule changes, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself during this busy time. Today, we’ll discuss not only why it’s important to care for yourself, but some ways in which you can do so.
Why practice self care?
To explain why exactly self-care is so important, especially during the holidays, I like to reference the car analogy. First, imagine a car. Cars can do all sorts of things, like commute to work, drive to the store, and help friends move. They work hard, but they get things done. Now, imagine that no one takes care of this car. Maintenance checks and oil changes are skipped, recall orders lapse, and nobody ever buys it new tires. That car isn’t as effective at doing all of its jobs now, right? It doesn’t run as smoothly, and maybe it even has a few moments where it can’t work at all.
Maintaining care for yourself is similar to maintaining that car. It’s important to sometimes take breaks, treat yourself, and listen to your body because otherwise, you may end up overtaxing yourself and feeling frustrated.
How do I care for myself?
This is a hard question, because it’s so different for each individual. I’ll provide some ideas below, but a good place to start is to begin a running list of things that make you feel taken care of on your phone or a notepad. For instance, if you’ve noticed that you feel more relaxed and clearheaded after walking your dog, write that down as a go-to thing to do when you’re stressed or anxious. This way, you have multiple gameplans to help you cope when times may be too busy to think straight. Here are some suggestions for things you can do to take care of yourself:
  1. 5-minute Freshen Up: Take a few minutes to comb through your hair, splash water on your face, and brush your teeth. If you can, change clothes into something comfortable or put on a pair of fuzzy socks.
  2. Guided Meditation: If you’ve never tried to meditate before, have no fear! Guided meditation involves someone walking you through the process and telling you exactly what to do step-by-step. As a bonus, there are many guided meditation guides available on YouTube or apps, so you can do them in the privacy of your home. Here’s a good 5-minute one to try: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i50ZAs7v9es.
  3. Get moving: sometimes, a quick stretch or a brisk walk can not only clear your mind, but deliver extra oxygen to your muscles and refresh you long into the day.
However you care for yourself this season (and always), make sure to make time to do so by writing it on your to-do list or setting a timer on your phone. Happy holidays!