Self-Care: Why You Need to Ditch the Idea that it’s Selfish and Start your Self-Care Plan Now
Self-care has become quite the buzz term in our culture today. Just type the word in Google, and you’ll find an overabundance of articles explaining what self-care is (and isn’t). As an intern pursuing my master’s degree in social work, you can bet that I’ve already spent a good deal of time researching and learning the benefits it has on clients. But when I talk to people about self-care, they often think it’s some selfish act that involves manicures and massages. This idea that self-care needs to be a luxurious hobby couldn’t be further from the truth!
Why you need to stop confusing self-care with selfishness
You need to help yourself before helping others. You know those instructions you’re always given by the stewardess when you fly on a plane? In the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before assisting children or others. Self-care is like your oxygen mask. You are little use to others until you care for yourself.
It doesn’t require a large amount of time or money
Despite the common misconception, you don’t need to spend a ton of time or money to prioritize your wellbeing. It could be as simple as enjoying a nice, peaceful walk outside or taking a painting class. Self-care certainly doesn’t need to be anything luxurious.
It can prevent burn-out with your job, your family or life in general
Everyone needs to allow themselves the time and space to recover from life’s pressures. Taking care of yourself could actually keep you grounded and prevent you from lashing out on your co-workers, friends, or even worse, your own family.
But what exactly is a self-care plan?
Self-care is whatever feeds your soul, creates calm or makes you feel good. A self-care plan is a routine that helps keep you grounded, and creating one can actually feel empowering. I’ll share my own routine to give you an idea of how simple it is:
Jen’s Self-Care Plan
1. Quite time with coffee daily: I like to have my first cup of coffee before engaging with the world. I think this part of my self-care plan is less for me, and more for my family. I am nicer after coffee.
2. Exercise (run or walk at least every other day): Exercise reduces my stress. Nothing reduces my stress better than exercise
3. Drink water: Drinking water is super easy but extremely important. Science can tell you why. I listen to science.
4. Listen to mindful podcasts: Mindful podcasts are my go-to nearing bedtime. Whether I want to try a new meditation or mindfulness exercise, there are so many wonderful podcasts! Tara Brach’s is a great place to start.
5. Get plenty of sleep: Sleep… aka sleep hygiene. Getting enough sleep impacts my mood tremendously! I just can’t be good at being me if I don’t get rest.
6. Plan for Play: I feel like grown ups don’t play enough. It could involve actual play like a game, hanging out with friends, doing some kind of art work or just dancing in my kitchen.
7. See my therapist: And of course, seeing my therapist rounds out the list. She helps me to stay centered and reminds me to take care of myself. Some of us need reminders. I am part of that some!
If you’d like to learn more about taking care of yourself and how to create a plan that works best for you, schedule an appointment with one of our highly-qualified therapists by calling (302) 655-2627, or visit Partners in Health and Wellbeing’s website. In the mean time, my list might be a good starting point for creating your own self-care plan. The important thing is to choose what feels right for you, take time for yourself and know that there is nothing selfish about self-care at all!