By: Tara Navarra-Berman, LMSW
Self-care can be so helpful in maintaining mental and physical health. Despite its importance, we can struggle with putting self-care into practice each day. We sometimes make excuses - “I don’t have enough time” “I can’t afford it” or “I keep forgetting” - and thus put ourselves on the back burner. We can find ways to take care of ourselves frequently throughout the day and make a tremendous change in our wellness by doing so.
What are some quick, easy, and beneficial ways to begin to focus a bit more on self-care? Here are some general ideas on how to get started:
I truly believe self awareness is key to many life areas. In a world where we are faced with countless responsibilities and distractions, it can be easy to lose focus on the signs your body provides to you. Tuning in means consciously making a note of how you are feeling and noting your own personal cues that connect to it. How do you know when you are stressed? Maybe you feel tired more often. Maybe you notice it’s a little harder to focus at work. A big part of mental health treatment focuses on self awareness, and maintaining wellness should too! Listening to ourselves in a kind and nonjudgmental way can be a great start to regularly practicing self care.
Write it Out
One of the most common ways to practice self care is through writing. Whether this means starting a journal, jotting down positive affirmations to remind yourself, or simply writing a list of thoughts floating around in your head, sometimes writing things out on paper can make a world of difference. You may write a to-do list when stressed, or write out a dream you had that you can’t stop thinking about. Whatever your own idea for this may be, writing it out can help in many ways.
Do What Makes You Happy
This may seem like an obvious one, but can be interpreted in various ways. Doing what makes you happy means making the effort to focus on YOU, make changes if needed, and remind yourself of your worth. For some, this may mean carving out 10 minutes each morning to do yoga. For others, this may mean obtaining a new job, or moving We can also find excitement in seeking something new, doing something for others, or learning or exploring something we have always wanted to try. If you find yourself feeling stuck, you may need to put more attention on what truly brings you joy.
There is nothing quite like being among nature. It can be calming, refreshing, and healing to spend a few minutes breathing in fresh air, going for a walk, observing wildlife, and reminding ourselves that we are connected to a whole world. Getting outside can provide a needed fresh perspective.
Take a Break
When you are feeling overwhelmed or overworked, take a break! Whether this means allowing yourself 5 minutes to take a few deep breaths, or taking a vacation somewhere relaxing, taking a break from something that has been causing you stress can be helpful to recharge.
The list could go on infinitely, and some ideas work better for some than for others. Put energy into caring for yourself and your mental and physical health will thank you for it!
If you feel you need support in meeting your self-care goals or if you are feeling "stuck" and need some support, please reach out to our team at Island Psychiatry today and make an appointment at 631-474-8099.