Self-care is so important. S is for Self-Care in the A to Z Challenge. I write about this subject so often that it has its own separate category in my menu. Self-care means loving yourself, taking care of yourself, and not just everyone else.
So many of us were taught that we must care for others, our spouses, parents, children, elders, friends, other family members…everyone but ourselves. Taking time for ourselves was seen as selfish, not as self-care. But that’s not true.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.Buddha
Even the Buddha recognized that self-care was important. How will you be able to care for others if you don’t care for yourself first? There’s a reason why airlines tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on someone else.
Self-care doesn’t necessarily mean expensive things like massages, facials, mani/pedis, or expensive vacations. While those are nice, if the expense makes you cringe, then you’re not actually giving yourself stress, not self-care. You’re adding stress onto your plate instead of taking it away, which is the point of loving yourself.
But one thing I do recommend to everyone is to get a mental health check-up. We get yearly physicals, so why not a yearly check-in with a psychologist? Most insurance plans cover these visits, and some also offer EAP programs where your first or even the first five visits are free. Take advantage of free.
And sleep. I cannot recommend sleep enough. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. That’s good sleep, not restless sleep. Poor sleep can interfere with your health, including your mental health.
One recommendation I saw if you’re restless in bed is to get up and read. And go back to bed when you feel sleepy. The idea is to train your body to only sleep in bed, not roll around wide awake.
And finally, remember to live a life with gratitude, which helps to reduce stress.