We’re often told to prioritize our own self-care, but what the heck does that even mean? If you’ve ever wondered what self-care means beyond a day at the spa, believe me, you are not alone. Check out this quick list to help you make sense of what self-care is.
1. Self-Care is making yourself a priority. There is a reason why they say if you're on an airplane and something happens, you first have to make sure you put on your own oxygen mask before you can help someone; if you don't take care of your needs first, you cannot effectively help others. Making yourself Numero Uno and honouring your own needs first and foremost is one of the most important aspects of a healthy self-care practice!
2. Self-Care means setting boundaries. Being able to set limits around your commitments and other people is important. Sometimes this might mean saying "no" and that is perfectly ok.
3. Self-Care always feels nourishing. Self care requires us to let go of feelings of guilt or the belief that we are not deserving. A great way to determine whether something you are doing is a healthy self-care practice is to notice how you physically feel afterwards. To help determine how nourishing something is, ask yourself, if your body feels depleted or more full and recharged afterwards.
4. Healthy Self-Care is proactive versus reactive. To prevent burn-out and running on empty, it's really important to set time aside daily to engage in nourishing activities that make your needs a priority. Note: this does not have to be time consuming. It can mean doing something as simple as taking a warm bath instead of a shower or starting off your day with a 3-minute meditation.
5. Self-Care includes seeking therapy. If you find yourself reading this and wondering whether you struggle with self-care, perhaps because you feel guilty for making time for yourself or feel unsure about how to practice self-care, seeking out someone who specializes in mental health can be the very self-care practice you need! Someone like a clinical therapist can help you learn more about yourself and understand the patterns of behaviours that might be getting in the way of making yourself a priority!
Melissa is a clinical therapist in our Toronto office specializing in anxiety, perfectionism, and self-image.