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Self-care: A more practical approach

We’ve all heard about the benefits of a good self-care routine. You’ll feel energized. Be able to tackle all that life brings with less stress. You can live a more balanced life. While all this is true (and as a therapist I totally recommend it), what is often left out is what does self-care really look like. Most of the time people assume it looks like being able to go to the gym, have a scheduled massage appointment, or monthly nail appointment. But for a new mom those tasks may not always be a feasible option.

Self-care can be hard to access when life gets busy. Who has time to get a massage when they have to breastfeed a newborn, cook dinner, finish a report or work a 9-5? Most people don’t have the “luxury” whether it’s due to time or finances. But what if I told you self-care does not have to be an extravagant, time consuming, financially draining task? Well, surprise it doesn’t have to be! Self-care by definition is not a luxury, but instead is creating an intentional habit of doing things to take care of your needs.

Why it’s important:

Everyone needs to recharge. Take a moment and look at your cell phone battery. Imagine it was at 75%. Would you feel a push to put it on the charger right this moment? Probably not. But what if it was at 10% and giving you that awful warning message? I’d guess you would try to find the nearest charger quick! We aren’t cellphones, but we operate in a similar fashion. We need to recharge, and ideally before our energy and patience get to 0%. Self care provides that recharge that gives you the boost to continue meeting all of the demands of life.

What self-care is:

More broadly self-care is an intentional task or effort made to check your “battery”. Just like we notice where our phone batteries might be at throughout the day, it is important for us to be just as mindful of where we are emotionally, mentally and physically. This starts by asking yourself “What do I need? How do I feel?” Starting here first will help you figure out what your personal self-care may look like. Once you can identify what you may be needing to recharge your battery then you can take the steps to meet that need.

Some practical needs may be…

-taking a steamy 5-10 minute shower

-having your cup of coffee while it’s still hot

-savoring a special treat (can we say ice cream, anyone?)

-eating meals/snacks when you're hungry

-taking the long way home with your music playing (who else is tired of Cocomelon haha)

-taking a nap instead of washing the mountain of dishes in your sink or folding that last load of laundry

While these things may not seem extravagant or luxurious, they may help to provide that much needed recharge so that you can step back into the many obligations that life demands of you. Talking to a licensed therapist can also be a way of pouring back into yourself. Self-care does not have to be expensive, time consuming or something that you dread to do. If you’re feeling that you might need help with recharging or figuring out what you may need to take better care of you, contact me today for a free 15-minute consultation to see if therapy may be a good option for you.

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