We often think of self-care as bubble baths and walks, but self-care or helping keep a balanced life can come from multiple areas of our life, such as physical, professional, personal, spiritual and emotional. Oftentimes we think of selfcare as large planned out gestures that we are adding to the calendar, but it might be taking a moment to notice how blue the sky is while we are in a traffic jam. We’re stuck waiting in traffic anyways, might as well find something pleasant instead of the unnecessary suffering of being angry and irritated.
Try practicing self-care in each of these six areas:
1. Psychological self-care might look like therapy, journaling, self-help books or groups, which can help with self-reflection and self-engagement. This can also be practicing asking for and receiving help. We may not think of asking for help as self-care, but often part of burnout is trying to do it all and feeling overwhelmed.
2. Emotional self-care looks a little different. This might look like self-love, self- compassion, affirming positive things about yourself, and forgiving others. This allows more space for the things we want to do and think about instead of guilt and shame.
3. Personal self-care might look like short-term and long-term goal planning, learning who you want to be and do with your life, or learning a skill or hobby, all of which can help you feel you have purpose in the world.
4. Professional self-care might look like taking time for lunch breaks, only answering phone calls and emails for work during work hours, or setting boundaries with your boss and co-workers so that they learn that you need to spend time at work working and time away from work being away from work. This helps you have time to recharge when you are not at work and energy to focus on work when you are at work.
5. Physical self-care might look more like exercising, eating healthy, or turning off social media, phones, and other distractions to be able to focus on using your body the way you want to. For some, this is our bubble baths and walks. Remember, especially when it comes to exercise, physical self-care isn’t punishment, but rather being able to spend time doing the things you love to do. In contrast, when you don’t take care of yourself physically, you might be forced into spending time with illness.
6. Spiritual self-care is often overlooked but can look like finding peace and tranquility in everyday moments and nature, including enjoying the sunset or being near the ocean. These simple moments of reflection can help us feel grateful to be here on this earth. This might also look like going to a house of worship or praying, where we move the focus away from ourselves to something bigger.
I will admit I may not be the perfect example of self-care. It has not come naturally or easy to me, especially working as a helping professional. We can sometimes wear burnout like a medal of how hard we work or how bad we want to help people. However, if we don’t work on our self-care now, we will be forced to focus on it when we really don’t want to, usually with illness, discomfort, or unhappiness. It is better to be able to choose when we have our self-care, like looking for those sunsets or taking a moment before answering that email from your boss that aggravates you.
Remember, you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a moment for yourself.
Looking for more tips and guidance? JFS Orlando’s counselors are specialized in various areas and are here to support you. Telehealth counseling appointments available! Medicare, Medicaid, and almost all insurances are accepted. Sliding scale available for those who do not have insurance or have an insurance we do not accept. Call 407-644-7671 or complete our online form to request an appointment today!
Ashlyn Douglass-Barnes, LCSW is the Clinical Director and a licensed clinical social worker at JFS Orlando. Ashlyn has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient community based mental health, inpatient/admission psychiatric hospital, substance abuse/DUI, dialysis/medical, and in home/office outpatient therapy.