Self-Care as a flexible recipe:
I used to get annoyed by "self-care" because it's an overused term and it sometimes suggests that "self-care" is a magic fix. Reframing self-care as something that's unique to each person, I've learned to embrace it.
For me, self-care is a flexible recipe. When I need time alone, I'll add in more physical activity. Other times, I'll need more time with friends. Sometimes it's an action step--like driving to the store to get my favorite sugar scrub or candle.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about "self-care":
1. What types of activities do I find energizing or draining?
2. Do I feel more relaxed when I've met with a large group of friends or met with someone one-on-one?
3. What work activities maintain or drain my energy?
4. Do I gain more energy after a meeting at work?
5. Do I feel better after I've spent time alone in my office?
6. How often do you generally spend engaging in enjoyable activities?
7. What are some things that you would like to spend less time doing?
8. Do you find it more manageable when you answer emails all throughout the day or during scheduled time frames?
taking care of Your emotions
Self-care also includes paying attention to our emotions. Even if it's uncomfortable, the ability to identify our emotions helps us catch them before they get bigger. What I mean by this: have you ever gotten really upset about something that seemed silly to someone else? I have! But what I have learned is that surge of anger may have been related to a lot of things piling up over time.
Do you ever feel like emotions are warning signs?
I used to ignore my emotions and pretend to be happy non-stop.
What I've learned is that emotions indicate that we need to pay attention.
Feelings aren't facts, but emotions let us know if we need to set limits.
For example, when I'm feeling irritable, I ask myself if I need to take a step away from the situation.
What do emotions tell you?
Here's an exercise for paying attention to our feelings:
Take 2 minutes to...
OBSERVE what's in front of you.
DESCRIBE in words what you see, feel, and hear.
ENGAGE in your experience and feel it fully.
What do you notice right now? What feelings are you experiencing? What thoughts arise?
WHAT'S PART OF YOUR SELF-CARE RECIPE?!