• Dana Kimbrough-Dixon, MA, LPC

The Importance of Self Care

Self care is loving yourself, protecting and taking care of your mind and body.

We are so busy loving, protecting and taking care of other people we either forget about doing the same for ourselves or there is a feeling that others take precedence over our own lives. Either way, it's not healthy. Without practicing self care comes resentment, anger, depression, anxiety, declining of physical health, irritability and burnout. We often hear about burnout from work, but what about life? Think about it; you work, take care of your children, you have responsibilities as a wife, husband or partner, responsibilities as a friend and family member, maybe taking care of a parent or grandparent and everything in between. It can be exhausting! What eventually happens is your mind and body start feeling the negative effects of not taking care of it which makes it difficult for you to be helpful to anyone, including yourself.


Let's talk about some ways you can practice self care:


1. Take at least 1 or 2 days each week to make time for yourself to do what you enjoy. If this is not possible try to do it during certain parts of the day (morning, afternoon, evening) 1 or 2 days out of the week; if not try to do it for a couple of hours. For parents with young children, I know personally it is challenging. Try to use your support systems (e.g. family or close friends). I have heard the old school way of thinking, "I didn't have those kids, so you take care of them". This way of thinking is detrimental to the parent and child. If the parent is overwhelmed and does not have an outlet and a support system that is willing to help, please understand this can cause the parent to exhibit hurtful behaviors to themselves and/or children. The same for caretakers. Its challenging taking care of a family member or anyone especially when they are not healthy. Please use your support systems, the result can be the same as I mentioned for parents and their children.


2. Say no to others when you don't want to do something.


3.Create a de-escalation space in your home. This space can be indoors or outdoors. It should be free of clutter (clutter can drain your energy). Paint should include calming colors (e.g. blue, green, grey, yellow, violet and pink). Make sure you have items that help decrease your stress such as a favorite blanket, soothing scents, stress ball, music, book, art supplies to name a few. Your mind and body will feel the positive effects of managing stress in this room. This is your safe space.


4. Focus on deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing is a good way to relax, reduce tension and relieve stress. This can be done anywhere.


5. Eat healthy foods.


7. Take short trips and/or long getaways when possible.


8. Take your lunch break


9 Take walks


10. Aim for 8 hours of sleep each day (It's more for children)


11. Individual or group therapy


I will go into more detail with some of the items on this list and discuss other ways to practice self care in future blog posts.

PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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