As a therapist, whenever I see a female client we generally always get around to how she takes care of herself. Most of the time, the female client has a really hard time explaining how she goes about taking care of herself. I'm not saying every woman that I have seen in counseling is lacking in this area, but it came to my attention pretty quickly that when women present to a therapist with depressive symptoms, weight gain, anxiety, among other issues, typically, self-care is lacking or non-existent.
I wanted to take a few weeks and really take the time to educate people out there about self-care and how important it is in this crazy life we are living. I mean, lets face it, unless you are Amish, living on a farm somewhere secluded, with no accessibility to electronic devices, we all share similar life stressors. We all go through life stages. Sometimes those stages are wonderful and fun and fulfilling. Other times, they are depressing, overwhelming and emotionally draining.
Our ability to sustain and take care of ourselves (and others) will have a huge impact on how we recover when life throws us those curve balls. Sometimes the curve balls keep coming. Sometimes we think the worst has happened and we find ourselves empty, void, and depressed. Unable to fight back any longer. Unable to spring back, revitalized, yet again. We are done. Finished.
So how do we prepare ourselves for life's ups and downs?
Simply put, we have to take the time to care for ourselves even when we think we don't have the time. You can ignore your body, you can ignore the depressive symptoms, you can deny being spiritually, physically and emotionally drained...you can ignore these symptoms, for a time. But the body has a funny way of letting you know when it's had enough.For some this is physical symptoms such as intestinal issues, inflammation, heartburn and anxiety attacks. These are signals our body is giving us that we need to slow down and take better care of ourselves. For others, it leads to more serious symptoms, some people are hospitalized. Some people are near nervous breakdowns. It doesn't have to get to that point, it shouldn't take hospitalization in order for us to take notice of what we are doing to our body (and our soul and our spirit).
If there is anything I could teach women it would be the art of self-care. So, that is what I am going to set out to do in the next few posts and weeks. Break it down. Educate. Empower.
First things first. What is self-care? And what is it NOT?
Next time we will look in depth at exactly what self-care is, the definition and what it is not.
Here is a hint. As wonderful as taking a hot bubble bath is and making time to go get a mani/pedi can be stress relieving, or having a girls night out every now and then can increase bond with others; true self-care comes from inner values of what we find important. Knowing who we are. Our purpose, and why we are here.
It is a process of nurturing ourselves over the long run, not just a quick fix it like taking a hot bath or reading a favorite book. Granted, those should be incorporated into our lives. They are healthy. They are important.
But there is much, much more to it than that.
I leave you with a question: What is self-care to you?
Can't wait to dig into this with you guys!!!!