You hear the term “self-care” quit often these days and we all know we should be doing that, but what exactly does that mean? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the term self-care refers to caring for oneself, more specifically, “health care provided by oneself often without the consultation of a medical professional”.
With the words used in the above definition, it is not surprising that a good portion of my client I work with only think of only physical health when I bring up the topic of self-care during our sessions. In reality, not only does self-care include physical, but it also includes mental and everything else in our lives as it all impact our health.
In addition, I have noticed that people view self-care as a luxury, not a priority. When working with mothers and women, I have observed self-care is usually the first thing that goes, I have coined this behavior, the “mom-syndrome”. I occasionally see this with men, but more often than not, I see women dealing with this. Women tend to put all their energy towards caring for their family and other people in their lives, so much so that they forget to care for themselves. Like that old saying goes, “You can’t pour into someone else’s cup when yours is empty”.
This brings me to selfcare for healthier mental health. There are several activities and techniques which focuses on your mindset with the intention of improving your mental health. However, when working with my clients, we explore multiple areas of their lives which all have the capacity of impacting both their physical and mental health. In addition, your physical health can grossly impact your mental health.
The self-care areas we review include: physical, psychological/emotional, social, professional and spiritual. This process starts with a self-care assessment handout I create which the client first does on their own, then we review it together during their session. As we review, we do not just set goals, we also explore their history in those areas, potential roadblocks, their “whys” behind what they would like to work on, and their values in life. Remembering what is really important to you, your values and setting goals to reinforce those reasons, will help steer you towards the right path.
If you are curious about this assessment, I actually have it as a free handout for those who would like to develop a plan to improve their own self-care. Just send me a quick email with “Self-Care Assessment” in the subject line and I’ll get one to you. (Sorry, no automation process at this time for this)
Remember, after you figure out what you would like to work on from the assessment, set your goals, define your “whys” and remember your values in life.
“Make sure you do one thing today that will get you one step closer to your goals!”