By Dr. Lynne Celli, Best Ever You Thought Leader
As we move through our individual lives, we all sometimes have quite different, and possibly similar parts of our lives that make us happy. For some of us it may be the simple act of being around other people and having these personal experiences. For others, it may be exercising, alone or with others, dong things as running, a barre group, or yoga sessions. No matter what we need in our lives to make us happy, this is a critical part of the absolutely necessary self-care we all must pay attention to. Self-care must intentionally and deliberately address our social, emotional, physical, and mental health.
Self-care, as defined by psychcentral.com, points to actions that we engage in conscientiously to address ever part of our lives on a consistent and regular basis. This includes ongoing intentional activities that help keep our social, emotional, physical, and mental health and assist in keeping us as multi-faceted people, in a positive mode as much as possible. As stated, it may be quite easy for some people to address their physical health by running or taking barre classes. However, it may be more difficult for others to do these same activities due to physical limitations. Therefore, other people may engage in meditation and/or self-reflection on a regular basis. Different opportunities and approaches to our self-care must not only be nurtured, be continually explores.
The key here is acknowledging that self-care has many dimensions. These dimensions cannot be ignored and must be addressed with the same commitment as with the dimensions in other aspects of of our lives, such as our jobs or our relationships with family and friends. An important point to think about as we contemplate holistic self-care is that engaging in one of the dimensions may actually address other dimensions of our self-care. For example, for someone who embraces running as a regular part of their lifestyle may actually be addressing their mental health. We have all heard the term “clear my head”. These are key words in the journey for holistic self-care. As stated, the most important thing is that we all need to address every dimension of self-care. A remarkably simple, but productive way to do this is by compiling a list. This list includes all the dimensions of self-care; with reflection of ways to address each. This seemingly easy exercise will become a bit more difficult when we reflect on all the dimensions that may not be at the forefront of our thoughts, daily.
To magnify the points of this exercise that may seem difficult is the “new normal” amid the international Pandemic. We are far more limited in what we used to be able to do, such as travel to get rest and relaxation. This often would address the many aspects of self-care. But we cannot do this now. So how do we fill the void? Examples of some alternatives to travel could be the use of social media more often than normal; more face-time, shorter day trips to places that make us “feel good”, such as the beach, the mountains, or a lake. It is critical that during this time which many are calling isolation (even if we are with family, working remotely, back on a college campus taking classes from our residence halls, or as a college student and only allowed to visit with limited number of friends) due to the Pandemic, we do not ignore that this time is different, and that acknowledging how we are experiencing the differences and how these differences affecting our self-care are important to address.
Thus, our social, emotional, physical, and mental health and practicing self-care have to now be creative and innovative. Now more than ever we all have to pay extra attention to these parts of our lives. The last thing that anyone wants for ourselves or others is that we move away from self-care and have the risk of falling into ill-health or severe depression. Now more than ever, we must keep abreast of our medical health through tele-health conferences. We must find ways to turn to the positive, such as often staying connected with friends that we cannot see personally. We must find ways to build exercise and healthy eating habits into our routines. We must find ways to say: I need ..….(fill in the blank), right now; perhaps a hug, perhaps a conversation about facing the future with friends and family together and with happiness. Important to self-care is looking inward and finding the grace and beauty about ourselves, and always taking these steps further by actually celebrating the grace and beauty. Keeping everything in our lives “honest” whether this honesty makes us happy or not. But align this with a plan to process what might be not so happy and trying to always turn back toward the “happy and the positive”.
As we all follow this journey of self-care, the most important thing is we must not do this alone, even during our “new normal”. Reach out, engage, journal so our feelings about happiness and struggles are actually “out there” for us to see, reflect, and act on to assure we are paying ongoing and regular attention, so all of us can build a process for self-care, so that at any point in time this process of bringing us back to self-care becomes a natural part of our lives. Our goal of self-care should always be to shine the light on how wonderful we all are.
It all starts with Self-Care
If I care for me, then I care for you.
If I care for me, then I can teach you how to better care for yourself.
If you care for you, then you can teach others how to treat you.
If you care for you, then you give other permission to care for themselves.
If others care for themselves, then they start to care for each other.
If others care for each other, then they start to care for the planet.
If we all care for ourselves, each other and our planet, then we create the kind of change that builds a positive future for our children.
It all starts with self-care.
Photo credit: Jon Descoteaux