When we think of self-care, the most obvious thing to consider is if you are eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Although this is very important to overall self-care, there are several other areas of your life to consider as well. Just like when you are flying on an airplane and it is suggested to you that you put your own oxygen mask on first before you help someone else, you need to put in the time and energy necessary to take care of yourself. In doing so, you are afforded the opportunity to become the best version of yourself you possibly can be.
Of course, physical self-care is vital to over health and wellbeing. When we are not eating healthy foods or taking the time to squeeze in some exercise, our bodies pay the price. This could lead to fatigue, health issues, low mood, as well as many other negative consequences.
Some questions to ask yourself when assessing your physical self-care could be… Am I eating healthy foods? Do I get enough sleep? Am I participating in physical activities that I enjoy, like bike riding, swimming, walking, etc.? Do I wear clothes that make me feel good about the way I look? Am I staying on top of regular maintenance doctor’s appointments such as check-ups or going to the dentist for cleanings?
Taking care of your mental and emotional health can benefit you in many ways. Individuals who are emotionally healthy are more in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They are more resilient as they face challenges, bouncing back from obstacles or setbacks. If you strive to maintain your psychological and emotional health, you become aware of emotions and are more able to deal with them in a positive way. This certainly does not mean that, in order to be healthy, you must be happy all the time. Life is messy and stressful. You will face challenging times. Being emotionally healthy will assist you in overcoming struggles and will foster the ability to move forward in a positive way.
Possible questions to ask yourself when assessing your psychological/emotional self-care would be… Am I taking an appropriate amount of time off my daily obligations (work, school, children, etc.) to rest and enjoy myself? Am I talking to someone I trust about my issues? Do I recognize my own strengths and achievements? Am I finding reasons to laugh and have fun?
As humans, we are inherently social creatures. It is known that humans have valued connection for as far back as we can trace, hunting together, traveling together, and thriving in environments together. Having healthy social support and connections with others actually leads to a 50% increased chance of living longer (https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316). Connections with others provides an important part of our identity and belonging.
When assessing your social self-care, some questions you could ask yourself would be…Am I spending time around people I like? Do I keep in touch with my friends and family who are far away? When connecting, am I having deep/stimulating conversations? When I need help, am I making the effort to reach out to those that will support me? Am I making time to have fun with others? Do I spend quality time with my intimate partner?
Spiritual self-care can look different for everyone. This aspect of self-care does not strictly encompass if you are going to church every Sunday. When we actively foster a sense of connection to a Higher Power as well as to a sense of meaning and purpose in life, we are nurturing the spiritual aspect of ourselves.
If you are assessing your spiritual self-care, you would ask yourself questions like… Am I spending time in nature? Do I meditate, pray, or set aside time for thought and reflection? When considering my morals and values, do my actions and behaviors match up? Do I actively recognize and engage in things that give meaning to my life?
If you work outside of the home, chances are you spend quite a bit more time at work than you actually do in your house. If we are not taking care of ourselves at work and in our careers, this could highly influence the rest of our lives in a negative way.
Possible questions to ask yourself when assessing your professional self-care would be… Am I taking on projects that I find interesting? Do I say “no” when necessary? Do I make time to build relationships with my coworkers? Is there a healthy balance between my professional life and my personal life? Is my workspace comfortable, allowing me to be as productive and successful as possible?
Taking the time to assess your self-care could make a big difference in your life. You may find that you spend your energy and attention in one aspect of self-care but have room for growth in others. The importance of assessment is to learn about your self-care needs, providing you the ability to recognize areas that may need more attention.
If you find yourself struggling and in need of assistance, please call Amy Wine Counseling Center at 832-421-8714. Our counselors can assist you in navigating the challenges you are facing, helping you get to a healthier, happier place in your life.