Over the years, I have read many posts and articles on self care. The most amusing articles poke fun at the standard “take a bubble bath” self care. I have found self care to involve a wide range of activities. By far, the most important aspect of self care is not overdoing it. If you happen to have diverse interests like me, it is easy to overdo, which makes it difficult to be your best self. The following are other ways in which one can see about the care of him or herself:
- Getting plenty of rest. Probably one of the most published needed aspects of life. Sleep restores energy, gives the waking parts of your body a time out, and allows your subconscious to work through information that does not fall in line with your ideal self.
- Recharge your batteries. On days when you are feeling low or overstressed try resting, taking a bubble bath, gardening, writing, and just plain old zoning out to your favorite television show. Basically, any activity that helps you relax so you can begin again tomorrow (or the day after). Human beings are not robots. We cannot motor through life without enjoying downtime – not without developing maladaptive behaviors/habits.
- Find your passion. Yes, there are plenty of friends, acquaintances, and family members who want to mold you in a particular way. The truth is, if you are not passionate about your life pursuits, you cannot find the fulfillment and joy life has to offer. Feeling happy in your life requires leading life from passion.
- Participate in fulfilling relationships. Every person is on their own journey working to rectify situations that prevent growth and sometimes just working to show up day to day. Paradoxically, one cannot fix others. When one enters a relationship with an unhappy person, the relationship is likely to become taxing. In my mind, therapy is the tool that individuals need to utilize when working through tough or insurmountable issues and to gain appropriate interpersonal relationship tools. As humans, I think that we need to choose relationships that help us experience life in a vibrant way. It is not up to us to fix others. Rather, we need to seek out relationships that have an even exchange of give and take. Additionally, supportive friends are great when life is getting us down.
- Make a vision board/treasure map. Envision what you want your life to be. What kind of impact do you want to make on the world? What would you do day to day if time and money were no issue? In short, what is your dream life? Other people are going to work to drag you down and you will have to grow, but stepping in the abundance of life is the greatest step towards lasting self care.
- Build altars and collect artifacts that center you. I have flower arrangements that I made along with butterfly (my spirit insect) depictions as well as bracelets and rings that remind me of what I love and/or bring grounding through metal and crystals. These objects immediately center me and have helped me persevere through difficult times. For you, none of these items have to be fancy or traditional. One of the things that grounds me best is my watch with a velcro band. The velcro band makes the watch just tight enough so I can I feel the cool metal on the back of my wrist – very soothing.
- Avoid distractions. As I go through life, I find needless distractions everywhere. People getting upset about a trash can put out or left out on a non-trash day. People who need to produce problems continually. Constant talk about the corruption of American government officials, and so on. I have found that as the Psalmist said, most of life is meaningless. We focus on the things we see, which are a reflection of ourselves. Truly, the best use of our time is seeking peace within ourselves and asking for direction regarding what our impact is meant to be in this world. The bottom line is, if your internal self is chaotic, chaos is what you will see in the world as well as what you will bring to the world.
All the best!