"Self-care is extremely important.  Many of us put ourselves second to other in our life.  However,
it is very important to take care of Self. 

Otherwise you may
find you are unable to care in any real way for
others if you are diminished"

Understanding the importance of
Self-care

Written By Susan Stubbings
SELF CARE

If you are feeling down or blue, out of sorts or just plain ole fed-up it may be that you are out of balance in some area of your life.  Whilst we can consider ourselves to be a 'whole' person Humans are multi-faceted Beings which means as a Human Being there are many sides and depths to us which need fulfilling if we are to feel content, happy and balanced as a person who lives a fulfilled life.   


As the illustration below suggests there are multiple areas to consider to getting the balance right for you personally to feel contented and happy.


After all is that not what life is about?

Self-care Susan Stubbings Conselling
If one of the areas is skewed or misshapen then we may feel out of sorts or not our Self.  For example, if you are not getting enough restful sleeping or giving your Self the right balance of nutrient over a period of time our physical body may feel lethargic, tired or even fatigued. If our behaviour is not how we would wish it to be in relation to others for example if you explode with frustration or anger at the slightest evocation or you are not mixing with others socially or the opposite never having alone time, then you may wish to re-think how you are caring for your Self.

annnnnnnnnnd

If you always do what you have always done, you get  what
youve always got.  Henry Ford

That's productive if you are intune with yourself and all things are in harmony.  If you are out of balance feeling under the weather, then you may need to do something different!

So when we talk about Self-Care what do we mean?

Self-care is the way you look after yourself, it is for you and you alone, you initiate it personally and carry out the tasks needed to fulfill care of, to and for yourself.   This may seem an obvious answer and of course it is, yet how many times in your daily living do you think about you?  Just you?  How many times in your day do you consciously stop and ask yourself how am I?  Am I OK?  Or ask yourself what do I need right here right now?  As you do your spouse, partner, children, friends, colleagues and even your pets?   

Do you leave any changing health for example until another day to visit the doctor or not go until you are desperately ill and can no longer manage your daily tasks?

Self-care means taking the time to identify exactly what you need to remain in balance before you get knocked off your feet.  It means to think of yourself as an equal and to think of yourself as you do others. Self-care means actually taking the time for yourself to provide what you need when you need it without putting it off till later or tomorrow since tomorrow never comes!  In a nutshell Self-care means how you choose to take care of yourself in a healthy way which maximizes your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being.

Self-care does not mean being Selfish or being Narcisistic!

It is a common misconception that self-care is somehow selfish, to think about your self is seen as something negative.  Yet if you don t look out for or take care of self who else will?  It can never be considered selfish to fulfill your own needs; sometimes this is difficult to accept if you have never been used to thinking about yourself, many have been raised to think of others before self.   Selfish is something different to self-care; being selfish or Narcisistic means you are putting your own needs before anyone elses whilst disregarding the needs of others. Self-care on the other hand is considering yourself as an equal to all others “neither better than nor less than” another but equally as important.  Self-care means you treat yourself as you would another with worth, respect, loving kindness and self-compassion. Being self-centered is the opposite of being centered in self which is having a healthy interest in your personal well-being.  

Why is Self-care important? 

This answer is also simple!  If you dont look after your Self you cant look after anyone else either not in a productive way or a manner which really nurtures them if you are tired, hungry, ill, feeling isolated or emotionally overwhelmed for example. When you care for Self you avoid burn-out and you handle your stressors productively, you manage any frustrations, anger or overwhelming situations fluently to the betterment of all including your Self. 

You have higher and longer tolerance levels and your confidence and self-esteem are built and centered in your Self which means others can't knock you off your center.  You will gain a zest for living vibrantly and feel more contentment more of the time, you will feel lighter able to laugh and enjoy silliness and fun. As such you don't become overwhelmed no matter what life throws at you, you bounce back more readily and in a shorter time scale.   You feel happier, nurtured, are balanced, productive and continually motivated to keep caring for Self equally, and you spring back from stressors more easily and readily with little effort.  You feel safe, trusting, have a sense of purpose and meaning and you feel happy to be in your own skin.

When you care for your Self others reap the benefits to because you have room to be able to safely put yourself to one side for a time whilst you attended to others needs, your personal needs fulfilled because you care for Self as needed along the path of your living.  Taking care of Self allows you to be genuine, authentic and offer help and support which nurture them too.  This makes for a peaceful and loving life for all concerned.

Do you need to change anything to enable your care of Self?

Taking the dimensions caring for self may look something like this:

Practical
  • Break large tasks down to several smaller tasks and complete them one at a time.
  • Only accept requests from other to do something if you have the time to do so when they ask, learn to say no.
  • Gain knowledge about any illness you may be experience and act appropriately for Self-management, including seeing GP before it gets out of hand or too difficult to manage self.
  • Learn to say no can take so much pressure from your shoulders.
  • Learn to ask for support when you need it.
  • De-clutter this always make one feel lighter. Go through your wardrobe and donate all the things you haven’t worn in a while to the homeless this will help someone else and offer you a sense of community spirit.
  • Employ someone to finish the DIY tasks you have had hanging around for some time.
  • Buy yourself fresh flower to enjoy.
  • Cook something you enjoy and take time to enjoy ever mouthful as if you are tasting for the first time.
  • Have a duvet day and let time pass, sleep on any worries or give yourself time to process anxiety. Change is the only constant in living so to this will pass!

Psychological
  • Be aware and recognize when you can't handle things by yourself and ask for support and help. 
  • Learn to say no to what you don't want to do or don't have realistic time to complete.
  • Claim some space in your home for yourself to relax.
  • Create a safe home environment, your home is where you shut the stressful world out.
  • Create me time to be alone and to refresh and rejuvenate Self.
  • Trust yourself, listen to your intuition and embrace who you are here and now.
  • Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and you in them equally.
  • Change things which are not working, and think of change as a process not a quick fix.
  • Say YES to life and embrace it with open arms.
  • Let someone else be in charge for a time.
  • Seek counselling if you need to change habitual pattern and don’t know how!

Social
  • Create a social network which works for you.
  • Talk to friends sharing always help to make the load lighter.
  • Try new things join a new class or take up a new hobby.
  • Keep actively involved in your community this creates a sense of belong.
  • Work at a job you enjoy we have a need to work to keep the roof over our head make it a job that affirms who you are in your core.
  • Talk with others face-to-face more than you do over text or email, phone your friends and encourage them to phone you.  Take a break from technology remember people matter and spending time together is priceless.
  • Share some time with others who make you laugh and who accept you for who you are unconditionally.
  • Spend some time outside in the fresh air, or do something out of your comfort zone, join a walking club or enlist friends to join you for a games evening!
  • Learn to use healthy communication and self-expression so others find you a base for safety as someone who they can approach, be kind to others we are all fighting a battle or two.
  • Be assertive and stand up for yourself dont let others walk all over you assertive does  not mean aggressive it means being diplomatic and caring for others feelings equally to your own.

Physical
  • Ensuring you eat a balance diet, eat several smaller meals rather than 2 or 3 larger ones.
  • Get enough sleep around 7 hours per night is a good balance.
  • Engage in light exercise (Check with GP first)
  • Try some yoga or a massage or enjoy a spar experience once in a while.
  • Have a relaxing bath or shower, make the lighting ambient with candles and use scented lotions.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Stretch into your day slowly.
  • Dance like no one is watching its very liberating and uplifts you.
  • Sing even if you are tone deaf it uplifts your Soul
  • Use alcohol responsibly educate yourself on safe limits and stick to them.

Spiritual
  • Practice breathing exercises centring in Self and relax your mind, body and spirit.
  • Take time to sit and be still, get to know self at your deepest levels, create peace within Self.
  • Stand tall lift your posture, let your spirit shine you may feel down or blue when you slouch.
  • Have faith things will work out, trust the process of living.
  • Prioritise - Rome wasn’t built in a day.
  • Make a list of all the things you are good at and the things you have achieved however small they may seem.
  • Nurture a garden, a pet, a potted plant, feed the birds in your garden give to something other than yourself.
  • Create an anchor which you can connect to in times of angst which will ground you in times of difficulty.
  • Explore your intentions, set your purpose, learn to accept yourself right here right now.
  • Practice self-love and self-compassion, treat yourself gently with kindness and appreciate Self.

Emotional
  • Explore anything which concerns you in the here & now.
  • Eliminate all expectations of perfection no one is perfect.
  • Explore ways to let your emotion out safely; recognise ALL emotions are part of being human and no one emotions is more important than the next.
  • Learn about your personal emotions and the way you process them.
  • Think about the language you use and change it if necessary.  Use affirming nurturing language to yourself and then it will project from you with ease to affirm and nurture other to.
  • Ask for help when you need it rather than 'going' it all alone it is a sign of emotional intelligence to do so.
  • Learn about resiliency and build it along with emotional intelligence and explore the difference.
  • Build firm but flexible boundaries which only you have the handle to open them.
  • Acknowledge and recognise you have rights equally to ALL others, you have a right to your own feelings, thoughts, opinions, decision making, you have a right to choose for your Self, you have a right to autonomy and well-being.  You have aright to be your Self.
  • Consult a counsellor if your emotions are not balanced and you wish to self-develop and your not sure how to!

 Behavioural
  • Stop procrastinating and those negative thoughts from consuming you.
  • Once you have made a decision follow it through to conclusion.
  • Minimise being a people pleaser or a martyr.
  • Minimise multi-tasking and do one thing at a time to completion.  In reality nobody can multi-task it is a myth.
  • Do something you are good at and enjoy, engage in something creative.
  • Nurture yourself give yourself what you need when you need it.
  • Be the person you needed when you were younger.
  • Recognise and own the fact you have a right to choose what to do with your own body.
  • Work to find the balance between work, rest and play and put it into action daily.
  • Consult a counsellor to help with your behavioural changes if you find this too difficult to achieve alone.

Intellectual
  • If you are upset, worried or over anxious make healing your priority.
  • If you are worried about your health seek information and guidance from a medical practitioner to alleviate worry, gain support.
  • Find some time for the things you love to do and get lost in the moment of doing.
  •  Become the best friend of your self-talk, break the cycle and give yourself a break from criticising and negative self-talk by creating a ‘chatterbox’ which is forward thinking and which raises your spirit by affirmation and nurturance.
  • With reference to the above remember anything another says about you also says something about the person saying it! So don't own it without first exploring it and if you wish to change something do so if you are comfortable with it keep it!
  • Befriend the unknown when we embrace it, it is quick to reveal its treasures if we work against it then it builds discomfort, anxiety and/or fear.
  • Be honest with yourself don’t deny or avoid, this often and does make things worse for you.
  • Become your own best friend and appreciate yourself and all you do for others and do them unto yourself equally.
  • Make room in your intellect for feelings, difficult as well as nurturing, love, lust, guilt, shame, compassion many emotions can be experienced in any one time, be prepared and work to recognise your feelings, just notice without having to do anything about them in the first instance.  Get to know the process of your personal feelings and befriend all of them when you do so they lose the powerful grip they may have on you and which stops you moving forward.
  • Record your dreams to use to empower your self-awareness and insight.


Life is a juggling act Self-care is as important as putting fuel into a car without fuel the car won't move  - not one inch!

These are just some suggestions to support self-care.

Please feel free to add your own ways that work for you .

If you find yourself struggling then please consider contacting me for support.

Thank you for reading this far!

To your Mental Wealth always

Warm regards

Sue

Susan Stubbings Doncaster