- Jess Hadford-Crook, MA, LPC
The Time for Self-Care is Now!
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
As a therapist, the idea of self-care is always on my mind. Both how I can practice more and encourage my clients to practice more. I am often responded to with an eye-roll from my clients as a I end yet another session with the question, “what can you do for self-care this week?” However, the eye-roll is usually followed by a smile because they too know how important it really is. Practicing self-care can help stave off anxiety and depression, increase positive thinking, and even improve immunity. I know we can all benefit from that.
There are certainly a few challenges that come with practicing self-care. First is often the belief that our needs are not as important as others or that somehow it is our roll to take care of others before ourselves. This is a belief that I try to challenge often. Which brings me to the saying “you can’t pour from an empty glass”. What does this mean? It means we need to replenish ourselves first so we can tend to the ones we love with the overflow. More self-care for ourselves means more overflow for the ones around us. If we are too stressed, overwhelmed or drained, we can’t offer support or effectively take care of the people around us. When we put our needs first, we then become more able to offer support and love to others. It is not selfish to take care of our own needs first, it’s essential.
A second big challenge in self-care is people believing that it has to be some grand engagement that many of us just don’t have time for. This is another belief that I try to challenge often. Self-care is not just a long, hot bubble bath with candles and a face mask. Self-care can also look like replacing your daily soda with water or kombucha. Self-care can be going to bed 30 minutes earlier to allow for more rest. Self-care can be cuddling with your pet or a cozy blanket. Self-care can be looking at pictures of your children or nieces and nephews. Self-care can be stepping outside one time each day to get fresh air and sunshine. Self-care can be adding one vegetable to your meal. Self-care can be giving yourself five minutes to stretch while you sit at your desk all day. Self-care can be repeating positive affirmations to yourself.
Sure, it’s great when we can get in an hour-long yoga class, a weekend getaway, and, yes that long, hot bubble bath, but I challenge you to find small ways throughout your day to show yourself some extra love. Get creative and find something that works best for you. We are all different and have different needs, therefor your self-care might look different as well. That’s okay! How can you begin fill your glass first?