You’re no good to anyone else if you’re not good to yourself. But that means more than just seeking help when issues develop. You have to build strong self-care routines to protect your mental health and to help you get through life’s challenges.
If you’re not familiar with self-care, think of it as the collection of healthy habits that keep you mentally fit and strong. What constitutes self-care may look a little bit different for each person.
Dr. Judy E. Vansiea of Coping Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry Services, PC, in Uniondale, New York, explains more about how to develop a self-care routine that works for you.
What is self-care?
A lot of people think of self-care as splurging for bubble baths and going shopping. These things have their place, yes, but they’re by no means the end of the self-care conversation.
Through coaching and wellness, Dr. Vansiea teaches you about self-care, which may include some of the following habits:
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating healthy meals at regular intervals
- Drinking lots of water
- Prioritizing normal sleep in adequate amounts
- Making time for spiritual habits, including prayer or meditation
- Practicing gratitude
- Keeping a positive attitude
- Finding relaxing hobbies that you enjoy
These are some of the basics in a far-from-comprehensive list. Your list may include doing yoga, coloring books, reading, or writing in a journal. It’s all about finding out what feeds your soul and making an effort to do it
Why self-care is so crucial
Self-care might seem like it can be optional. If your life gets busy, it’s likely to be the first thing that falls by the wayside.
But your self-care habits aren’t optional; they’re essential. If you neglect your self-care processes, you might experience one or more of the following effects:
- Increased stress
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Decreased sleep quality
- Relationship problems
- Lack of self-esteem
- Loss of empathy or compassion for others
Self-care is the basis for everything else. You’re truly no good to anyone else if you’re no good to yourself first.
Challenging reluctance to self-care habits
A lot of people have a lot of reasons why they think they can’t start and maintain self-care habits. But many of these reasons are built on falsehoods.
Thinking you can’t afford it
A lot of people have the mistaken impression that they have to be able to afford the best of everything in order to practice self-care. But you don’t have to have the finest high-thread-count sheets or really expensive candles.
Many of the practices that make up self-care are very low-cost or even free. For example, it costs nothing to drink water or maintain a regular sleep schedule. Many other habits like yoga or even establishing a routine of moisturizing your entire body can feel relaxing and nurturing.
You feel like it’s wrong to put yourself first
We’re all taught from the time we’re young children that putting other people first is virtuous. While this is certainly true, it’s often taken to the other extreme, and we think that putting ourselves first is somehow wrong.
Quite the opposite is true. It’s not selfish to give yourself proper self-care. In fact, the better you take care of yourself, the more effective you’ll be at taking care of others.
If you need help coming up with a self-care routine that really works for you, we can help. Contact Dr. Judy E. Vansiea at Coping Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry Services, PC, today or request an appointment online.