Self-care is the best care

Not so long ago, I was with a group of friends and the subject turned to self-care.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Lives are so busy nowadays that quite often, we take the time to care for others but rarely give ourselves the time to care for ourselves. It might be a cultural thing, or a even generational, but it seems to be that there is a certain amount of guilt involved in making our physical and emotional well-being a priority.

The pandemic has played a part in people realising how important it is to make time and space to just be. How many times do we consider what having a healthy work life balance actually means?Personally, I didn’t consider, until I stopped, the effect that driving a total of 400 miles a week was having on me.

Self-care means so much more than just taking time for ourselves, it involves working out a way to use that time so that it that benefits us mentally and physically whilst sparking joy.

Have you ever thought about how you spend your time over the course of a week? How much of it do you actually spend on yourself?

Try this out:

use the chart below to think about the things you would like to do more of

I’d  love to but….

What I love to doWhen I did it lastWhy I haven’t done it recentlyI’m going to do it by

In ‘The Artists Way’ Julia Cameron encourages readers to draw a pie chart of their lives so as to give us a visual picture of how we spend our week. This helps us to thing about the areas of our lives we are neglecting. It is a challenging exercise, but it helps us to start to think about how we can introduce better balance to our busy lives. Try filling out my version of the pie chart to see what you come up with:

Now try thinking about the adjustments you can make to help you self-care better.

I often hear clients say that they feel selfish taking time for themselves. They tell me that they feel that they come last in the queue behind partner, kids and pets. They feel frazzled, burnt out, yet unable to give themselves permission to look after themselves. The simple truth is that it is not selfish to have some time to yourself every week. It is healthy to have some firm boundaries around how much giving you can do if you’re going to be fit and well enough to take care of other’s.

Take a minute to consider what might happen if you don’t give yourself a break and as a consequence, you make yourself poorly?

Self-care means being kind and compassionate to yourself.

Self-care means making others understand that you too have needs that should be respected.

So, do a little less for others and a little more for yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s wise.

By ericapcounselling

Systemic and integrative counsellor/therapist Specialisms: Couples counselling, relationship counselling, addiction, bereavement and loss, mental health, stress management and self-care. Counsellor by day, singer by night!

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