Let’s Talk About Self-Care
A recent conversation with family members involved the topic of self-care. We talked about strategies for keeping work and life balance. Cross Fit, ordering groceries on-line, a robot vacuum cleaner set to vacuum at 3:00am every night, setting aside time for friends, getting outside, and Ben and Jerry’s were among the techniques being used to maintain a balanced life.
Why is self-care a topic of concern today? Why is stress one of the major causes of physical and mental health problems? Why do we lay in bed at night unable to sleep, churning over the worries of the day? Why do our schedules get so crammed jammed full that the first thing to go is our self-care: exercise, time alone, a decent meal? Why do we feel the need to literally self-destruct?
If you google self-care you get a number of responses including 10 Easy Habits and 45 Simple Self-Care Practices. I don’t think the number 45 and simple belong in the same sentence. Yikes.
Self-care. I will define it as ‘what I do to take care of myself’ (this definition violates all those rules we learned that a definition can’t include the word- oh well). Most of us would say that we don’t take care of ourselves the way we know we should. We need more exercise, to eat a more balanced diet, to get out more (or stay home more), to be more connected with loved ones (or less connected as the case may be). I am willing to guess that we all have a mental list of what works for us but we just have a difficult time to prioritize and make it happen.
I just spent a week on vacation. I had plenty of time connecting with family, being outdoors, active, a total change of pace. As I return to work, I am reflecting on what I need to do to keep my life in balance. I would like to see at the end of a work day that I have achieved 10,000 steps- not 1800. How do I do that? When? I feel much better when I have had time outdoors and have some physical activity.
In reading about self-care, I see words like flourish, fun, well-rounded human being, being at your optimum. These are words I want to describe me. So, what can we do to flourish? I asked the staff here at The River Center to tell me what they do to take care of themselves. Carrie writes in her journal; Bonnie does yoga and Pilates; Kelli gets in the water- a bath, a pool, the lake; Kristen runs every day; Nisa does crafts or takes a drive by herself; Karen surrounds herself with beautiful art, plants, flowers, books and soothing music; Shannon goes to coffee shop all by herself and gets a haircut; Penelope takes a walk in the woods; Wendy walks the dog and relaxes with a cup of tea. Meditation, walks, alone time were repeated themes. Self-care for me includes a nice walk, good conversation, pausing to absorb the beauty around me, and a leisurely cup of coffee in the morning.
The River Center is a resource to help you care of yourselves so that you can care for your family and those you love. For more information on our parenting programs, money coaching or referral services, contact us a 924-6800 or www.rivercenter.us.
If we take care of ourselves, we are in a much better position to take care of others: our children, our aging parents, our clients or co-workers. I hope that you can enjoy the long days of summer and do the little things that bring you joy, that make you flourish. When that happens, our families flourish, and when our families flourish, our communities flourish.
I think I’ll take a walk.