What is Self Care?

Stressed out.  This is something we can all relate to – being stressed out.  Stress comes in many forms; workplace stress, family stress, financial stress, emotional stress.  The list goes on and on.  We all know we should take better care of ourselves, but we often fail at maintaining self care on any regular basis.

We know we need to eat right, get enough sleep, excerices, reduce our intake of caffeine and on and on. Knowing something and doing them are two different things.  We often do not make time for a much needed self care routine until some sort of crisis demands that we take another look at how we are treating ourselves.

One of these crisis’ is betrayal trauma or trauma induced PTSD.  When we are thrust into a crisis we quickly learn that Self Care becomes a necessity instead of an elective. So what is self care exactly?

Self-care is a very active and powerful choice to engage in the activities that are required to gain or maintain an optimal level of overall health. And in this case, overall health includes not just the physical, but the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual components of an individual’s well-being.

Most people understand that stress is more manageable when they’re feeling happy, healthy, loved, and at peace. However, understanding what is good for you doesn’t necessarily translate into actual behaviors. There are a number of recommendations for each component of an individual’s health; be aware, however, that self-care is a highly personal endeavor, so each suggestion may not necessarily resonate with you.

self-care

1. Physical Self-Care
Taking care of your body is what self-care concepts are based upon. Self-care for the body includes those activities that doctors usually recommend to patients, such as sticking to guidelines for body fat percentages and caloric intake, drinking enough water, sleeping at least seven hours per night, and exercising regularly. For a nation that is experiencing a prescription narcotic epidemic, it may also mean addressing chronic pain issues comprehensively and at their source, rather than just popping pills.

2. Psychological Self-Care
Taking care of the mind is just as important as taking care of the body, even if the recommended activities for psychological self-care vary between individuals. For those who have a mental health disorder, psychological self-care may mean taking medications and using therapy as prescribed by a psychiatrist. It also may require learning how to combat negative self-talk and addressing the emotions and psychological triggers that lead to feelings of defeat in relationships or the workplace.

3. Emotional Self-Care
Emotional self-care is highly related to psychological self-care because there is overlap between the psyche and the emotions. For people who are experiencing a great deal of stress or grief and bereavement, emotional self-care may involve taking the time to properly grieve the loss of a relationship or loved one. It may mean journaling about anger or talking about paralyzing feelings with a friend or counselor. Certainly, it means addressing any depression that makes it difficult to leave the house. Many adults do not have a strong understanding of their emotional lives, but emotions deeply impact relationships, careers, and physical self-care.

4. Social Self-Care
If all a person ever does is work, it’s difficult to practice social self-care. Social self-care involves just having fun with the people you love. It may mean going out to coffee with a best friend or planning a fabulous date night with your spouse. It means talking effectively through conflict, and addressing the emotional needs of the people you love.

The time for social self-care is now, because you never know how long you have with the ones you love. Furthermore, socializing helps create positive health outcomes.

5. Spiritual Self-Care
Even if you don’t practice a faith, it’s possible to practice spiritual self-care. Spirituality is about both faith and meaning in life. Providing spiritual self-care may mean spending time in prayer or meditation, or going on a long walk to contemplate purpose and meaning. It may involve making time for communal worship in a religious setting. Regardless of how you find meaning and purpose in life, spirituality can build social support and ease psychological and emotional distress. ( Source: Money Crashers)

It is important for us to have a “go-to” list of self care activities that we can call on to help us out in times of stress. You will be better able to cope with the trauma and facilitate healing.  Self Care is not just something nice to have on hand when going through trauma, it may actually be the difference between facing life or hiding in a corner under a blanket.

So take a minute to make a list of things you will do to take care of yourself this week!

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