Making Space for Self-Care
You’ve probably heard people talking a lot about self-care lately. It seems like you can’t scroll through insta without escaping posts about face masks and yoga classes. But, what does self-care really mean and is it something we truly need? To find out I asked Carrie Kyger, a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist and Co-Owner of Family Solutions Counseling about her thoughts on this buzz word.
What even is self-care?! Carrie defines self-care as “mindfully taking care of the self”. She says that when people lack making space for themselves, they can be left feeling depleted and burned out. That’s not exactly the feeling any of us are shooting for! But don’t worry if that’s where you are at. Self-care is attainable and can be tweaked to fit into anyone’s schedule and starting point. By taking the time and creating space for ourselves we can utilize tools to overcome the burned out feeling and instead feel well.
Good self-care, according to Carrie, can lead to mental and relational fitness. By learning how to take care of our body, mind, and soul we can keep ourselves healthy, fit and resilient. It may sound easy, but self-care can be really challenging and downright overwhelming too. Most of us have stressful lives and are being pulled in many directions so taking time for ourselves is last on the list. Getting started doesn’t need to be difficult. You can start by testing out different self-care strategies to find what works best for you and then begin to implement those strategies into your regular routine.
Carrie helps us get started by sharing the four pillars that anyone can use to guide their own personal self-care plan.
The first pillar, exercise, not only provides physical and mental fitness but has also been shown to help people heal from trauma and addictions. She gets specific, with a goal of 150 minutes per week. That could mean taking a 20-minute walk after dinner or hitting up your favorite class a few days a week.
Mindfulness, the second pillar, covers meditation, prayer and the ability to be still and clear in the mind. This could be attending a church service for some or even taking the time to find some quiet time in nature, meditation or journaling. Self-care can be fine-tuned to fit what works best for anyone.
The next pillar, Nutrition, isn’t just about choosing healthy foods that nourish your body. It’s about finding a balance between eating enough food, but not too much as well as having healthy flexibility in your relationship with food.
The final pillar, (you knew this one was coming) is sleep. Making sleep a priority and practicing sleep hygiene protects and respects the brain and your bodies’ need for rest, according to Carrie. She shares a few tips on sleep hygiene including a regular sleep routine by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, keeping your bedroom dark, quiet and cool, and limiting screen times.
Whether you decide to spend some time reading that new book, take a long walk, or grab dinner with friends, taking time and creating space for self-care is important. By implementing self-care into your normal routine, you will be better able to handle stress, grow and enjoy life.
(Health Coach for ERVC)