Wednesday, April 5, 2017


I heard the term "self-care" for the first time in my graduate counseling classes. Professors stressed how important it was, especially when seeing clients. "Take care of yourself to take care of others," they said.

To be honest, I kind of blew them off. "Yeah right. Whatever." I told myself. I'm fine at taking care of myself. And then I got to practicum, the stage where I worked forty hours a week at my paying job while seeing clients for 10-15 hours a week. I got exhausted, and not just in a sleep-deprived way. I got worn out physically, mentally, and spiritually. I realized that I had to find ways to rejuvenate my whole person or I wasn't going to make it.

Rejuvenation during practicum mostly looked like hibernating at home during the weekends, cooking, and cleaning, and napping. Those were normal life things, but somehow they calmed and collected me and got me ready for the next week.

Now, out of grad school and into my "real" job, I find myself exhausted again. Lots of things are taxing me: work, life, family concerns, deaths of friends, etc. I find that I need to practice self-care again, even if I'm not working as a counselor. In fact, I think we all need to practice self-care. It's part of loving ourselves and being human.

A lot of great ladies have written about self care. (See My Uncommon Everyday, ImmaEatThat, and The Real Life RD.) I thought I'd follow suit and share a few of my own self-care practices. Just remember that these work for me. (Don't compare!) Find what works for you. Love yourself and enjoy every little bit of life you can.

Cooking: When I have time to craft a meal, to really get in there and cut and chop and baste and saute, I'm happy. Florianne Jiminez calls this type of cooking "indulgent." Recent research suggests that the activities of cooking may release dopamine, a pleasure chemical in the brain, too.

(Crockpot 3-ingredient balsamic chicken sliders and cumin-lime coleslaw)

Getting out in the sunshine: Feeling the warmth of the sun and feeling its brightness make me happy. The sun was one of the reasons I moved back to Arizona, after all. Whether it's sitting inside by a window, basking in the sun on the porch, or getting outside for exercise, getting sunshine is vital to my mental health.

(Willow Lake Trail stairway)

Painting my toes: It seems a little frivolous and vain, and to be honest, I usually put it off far too long, but after doing it, I get a little bit of joy every time I see my toes. They just make me happy and help me love and appreciate my body a little more.

Social media: This is a gray area, because overdoing social media is bad for my self-care. It leads to comparison and envy and discontent. But in the right context, social media reminds me of the beauty and joy of life. Recently, I've liked following the posts of My Uncommon Everyday and The Real Life RD on Instagram. I also like perusing Pinterest and Facebook. One strategy I (sometimes) use to make sure I enjoy social media is to single-task (more on that here) and set a time-limit using my cell phone timer. 

1 comment:

  1. Mmmhmm I agree! I like the painting toes one. I forget about that so often but I love it when I do it. I also love reading all snuggled up with blankets. :)
    -Emily S