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What is Self-care? Choosing a Strategy that is Right for You

By: Sandy Black, LPC, and Kylie Slavek, LPC

What is Self-Care?

Self-care may bring to mind images of bubble baths, beach trips, or meditating on a mountaintop. You may believe you don’t have the time or money for self-care. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Self-care activities can take as little as a minute and can be done right where you are now.

Self-care is any action you take to improve your health and well-being. It is about making healthy choices for your mind, body, and spirit which helps to reduce stress. Self-care choices reflect compassion and self-love. Moving your body daily, going to therapy, setting goals, managing stress, budgeting, spending time on hobbies, cleaning, setting boundaries, and carving out space for alone time are all forms of self-care. Self-care is not always self-indulgence. It sometimes means doing things you don’t want to do in the moment knowing it will help you feel better later. Self-care is a lifelong journey of making healthy choices. Looking at self-care in this new way will help you improve your well-being.

Why Self-Care Is Important?

Self-care increases your ability to overcome challenges and get through tough times. When you practice taking care of yourself regularly, it will become easier for you to make healthy choices when times are difficult. Daily self-care helps you to bounce back quicker and handle stress with ease.

Practicing self-care improves your mental and physical well-being. Making a healthy choice like getting a good night’s sleep, exercising, or spending time doing things you truly value, can have a trickle-down effect that positively improves your life in many ways. If you focus on getting a good night’s sleep, for example, you might have more energy, be in a better mood, or feel more motivated to make other healthy choices. When you care for yourself, it allows you to show up more fully for what really matters, including taking care of others. 

Some people get stuck believing self-care is selfish. But how can you fill the cups of others when yours is empty? Self-care isn’t selfish at all. When you are well taken care of it gives you the energy to be a better family member, friend, colleague, and partner.  

Choosing Self-Care That is Right for You

Self-care is about taking care of your whole self, not just your physical body. As you can imagine, if you are feeling lonely and try to practice self-care by going for a run, running will not solve the problem. While it will temporarily take your mind off the feeling and give your brain a boost of feel-good chemicals, running won’t fill the void of loneliness. Self-care is about taking care of your whole self, mind, body, and spirit. It is best to have a variety of self-care strategies to turn to that meet all your diverse needs. Choosing the right self-care can prevent things from getting worse. Consider the 5 Dimensions of Wellness for a more well-rounded look at your different types of needs.

Spiritual wellness The connection to something greater than yourself. It covers your values, morals, and other beliefs that guide your actions. These actions may also give you a sense of meaning and purpose. 

Physical wellness The balancing of all areas of your physical self. This includes sleep, movement, nutrition, hygiene, relaxation, sexual health, and caring for illness or injury. 

Intellectual wellness – The creative and mental growth that develops when you learn and improve your skills.

Social wellness – The building of healthy, nurturing, and supportive relationships. This includes a genuine connection with yourself and those around you.

Emotional wellness – Recognizing, understanding, and accepting your emotions.

Take some time to write down one self-care strategy for each dimension of wellness. Practice a new self-care strategy each day that focuses on a different dimension. This will help you get more creative with your self-care strategies and improve your ability to choose the one that is right for you. For example, if you are feeling lonely, a self-care strategy that focuses on emotional or social wellness might be a better fit. Perhaps you schedule a therapy appointment or call a loved one. Or maybe your loneliness is calling for spiritual self-care. Spiritual self-care might look like joining a community of people with similar values or beliefs or getting involved in causes larger than yourself that allow you to connect with and help others. 

Self-care is an ever-evolving process. As you grow and change so will your self-care needs. Building your library of self-care strategies and practicing self-care daily will help you become an expert in taking care of yourself, reducing stress, and showing up more fully in the lives of others.

Partner With Centered 

Help your employees promote positive healthy habits by partnering with Centered. Partnering with Centered provides your employees with exceptional, comprehensive wellness and mental health services designed to keep your employees happy and healthy. Centered provides a comprehensive whole-person approach to mental health and wellbeing. Our solution combines expert-led wellness classes, health coaching, supervisory consultation, and personalized individual therapy to provide an unparalleled, custom, wellness experience for all of your employees. 

Discover the benefits your company will enjoy by fostering an engaged, flourishing workforce, supported by customized services that meet your employee’s unique needs. 

Contact Centered today for your complimentary assessment! 

Contact information:  www.centeredhealth.org  phone: 720-417-0879