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Self-Care: An Essential Guide to Your Well-Being

women from various ethnic backgrounds laughing together with towels on their heads and covering up their torsos and legs
Self care isn't just spa days or just for women, but these ladies look like they're having fun, don't they?

Self-care has a public relations problem, in that it's associated with spa days and getting your nails or hair done. Maybe massages or mud baths. But this doesn't address how you feel emotionally, or how engaged you feel spiritually. Self care goes way beyond that.

Stop to consider how you've felt lately. Have you ever had one of those days when you just don't feel good physically? Maybe you're having a headache, or your joints ache from exercise or a chronic health condition, or you're just tired from a lack of a good night's sleep. How well were you able to do your job? To listen, be present with and help the people you serve? Was it easy to get through the day or did you feel increasingly lousy? All this leads me to ask you, how is your self-care routine these days?

Contrast that with a day when you felt well-rested, well-fed, and had gotten enough exercise and fun activities. How well were you able to be present with your patients or clients that day? I suspect it was a lot easier, and you could be proud and happy with the results you got that day.

white woman's hand cradling hot beverage, reading a book with legs crossed, by a window with snow scape outside
What's your favorite way to treat yourself well and practice self-care?

Self care allows us to care for others too.

Wouldn't you like more days like the latter, rather than the former? As healthcare and helping professionals, we often give our best "at the office" and forget to care for ourselves. We think in the long run it isn't going to affect us, but that's unfortunately untrue. If we shirk our personal lives and fail to take care of ourselves, we can't give our best to others. I want to propose a definition of self care that is more inclusive of all aspects of your life.

Jack Kornfield, PhD, in his wonderful book A Path with Heart, talks about how we need to take care of ourselves first and foremost; only then can we truly give freely of ourselves.

So what does this mean practically? It means that we regularly and carefully attend to our:

  • Medical needs

  • Physical exercise

  • Diet and nutrition

  • Emotional and psychological well being

  • Spiritual needs

  • Financial needs

  • Social needs (romance, friendship, community)

  • Fun and recreational needs

I want to help you get on track with a plan that will help you do all that. It takes time and time is money (or so they say), but if we can avoid burnout in our professional and personal lives, it is time well spent. Please call me if you have want help individualizing your self-care routine: 661-575-7135.



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