Wellness — February 28, 2020 at 9:15 am

Anything But “Self-Care”


By Maegan Carrasquillo, Staff Writer

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years you’ve probably heard a thing or two about self-care. For some that can mean taking time to participate in a fitness class or doing a DIY facial, while others might find that just a few minutes alone with coffee in the morning does the trick. Whatever it might be, it’s important to find what works best for you.

Studies show that taking the time to participate in self-care related habits has multiple benefits. It can lead to a hardier immune system, increased productivity levels, as well as better your ability to give back to others. It’s no wonder self-care practices are even being implemented at work.

Somehow even with all the positive buzz surrounding the movement, there are still a great deal of people that won’t hear of it. Many don’t believe they have either the time or money for self-care, while even more think it would make them selfish. As astounding as that might seem, I can completely understand as I too fell into the category of nonbelievers.

With a rough previous year in the books I was being given the same advice over and over, “carve out time for yourself!” When I’d first heard it, I was incredulous. The best idea for helping me, the stressed-out single mother with two jobs, was that I take time to prioritize myself? And where might I find this time? Whenever I’d hear the term “self-care” I’d scoff. It was laughable.

After exhausting all other options, I decided to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen? If I came up with a few things I knew I’d enjoy that weren’t excessive maybe it could be a good thing. I researched it and really liked this article about the 5 different types of self-care, so I based a list on those. This was my list:

  • Physical – Wake up 30 minutes earlier to stretch
  • Spiritual – Take the dog on longer walks
  • Emotional – Journal in the morning
  • Mental – Write character descriptions and other details at night
  • Social – Call up a friend to chat or meet for lunch

Most of what I do now takes very little time but makes a huge difference. Waking up earlier to stretch not only prepares my body for the day but it’s also made me start a healthy new morning routine. Taking the dog on longer walks gives us both the exercise we need, and the time spent outside is quite the stress reliever. Journaling each morning helps me to set goals for the day that keep me on track and remind me of the important things in my life. Writing character descriptions and details for a book I’ve been working on helps me be more productive towards my goal and is great practice. Calling up a friend just to talk or to go grab a bite keeps me connected and leaves me in a more positive mood.

Sure, I still cringe slightly when I see motivational quotes about self-care, I don’t think the phrasing will ever suit me, but I’ve noticed a real difference in my overall attitude and well-being. No one would call me stress free exactly, but I feel far more capable and in control. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as taking multiple yoga classes, learning a new language, or completely changing your current way of life. Sometimes just a few small steps can help move you forward towards all that is possible.

The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. None of the information presented is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is a personal account and individual experiences may vary. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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