In my final year of my Master’s, I was doing my clinical practicum, coursework, and working part time to pay off my student loans. I always knew self-care was important, but I really learned how important it was. How could I tell my clients to practice self-care and how important it was to their wellbeing if I wasn’t doing it myself? Because my schedule was so crazy, I had to start scheduling my self-care.
We often feel guilty when we do things for ourselves which is simply unreasonable. If we do not take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of others in our lives. For my clients, I often compare it to if you were on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop down. You cannot help the person beside you if you do not put your own oxygen mask on first.
When anyone neglects to take care of him or herself, they put stress on their mind and body. This stress can lead to physical effects like a weaker immune system and high blood pressure, but it can also lead to mental effects such as depression, anxiety or anger management issues.
A good way to start is to choose one area of self care and focus on making a change. Maybe you love to read but don’t do it anymore because you feel like there’s not enough time in the day. Make it a priority to enjoy 15-30 minutes with a good book every evening. If you have a hectic schedule, try scheduling it in.
Sometimes I really have no time for self-care. But I’ll have time in the car where I’m driving from point A to B. So I’ll make sure to put on my favourite playlist or even put on a meditation. It’s about being creative with your time. No matter what you have some time in your hectic schedule for self-care. Sometimes it will feel forced, but you will feel so much better afterwards if you just do it. I drag my butt to the gym often, but I know I will feel so good after the workout is done. Hold onto that thought of how good you will feel after.
Here’s some examples of my self-care:
-spending time with friends, family or a partner
-going for a walking meditation
-reading a book
-watching my favourite TV
-going to the movies
It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself! Make it a priority.