Sep 18, 2020

Scoop on 'Self-Care'

Self Care Isn't Selfish.png“Improving your relationship with yourself by maintaining your physical and mental health makes you more resilient, helping you weather hard times and enjoy good ones” (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2020)

“Self-care” has been a huge topic of discussion in recent times, with many sources discussing its importance. But what exactly is “self-care”, and how do we do it?

It is important to note that everyone’s self-care is different. We each have our individual self-care needs, and how we address these needs may be different for each of us. (National Institutes of Health, 2020). Furthermore, self-care encompasses many different types and activities. How we fulfill these needs will vary for each of us. The importance is finding a balance that allows us to meet our self-care needs. Types and definitions of self-care may vary across sources, but below are some common categories of self-care (from Olga Phoenix Project, 2013).

Self-Care Wheel, Olga Phoenix Project.

What do each of these areas mean? Below are some descriptions of each type, as well as examples of ways we can fulfill these needs.

  • Physical: Taking care of our bodies will support our self-care.  Eating well, sleeping well, exercising, and taking care of our medical needs is important for ensuring our physical well-being.
  • Psychological: Our psychological well-being is important for us to be able to think clearly. This might include activities such as self-reflection, journaling, therapy, or engaging in activities that allow us to engage in our own curiosity and intellectual development.
  • Emotional: This type of self-care allows us to express our emotions in a healthy manner, whether those emotions are positive or negative. Talking with our loved ones, giving ourselves positive affirmations, engaging in social causes that are important to us, and giving ourselves opportunities to laugh and cry are some activities that may support our emotional needs.  
  • Spiritual: In our lives, spending time in nature, engaging in yoga or meditation, and taking time to think about and understand what is meaningful to us may seem like a luxury. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time for that,” try finding a spiritual community, singing, providing financial or volunteer support to a cause that is important to you, or playing with your children to take care of your spiritual needs.
  • Personal: We all know self-care may look differently for each individual. Taking care of our personal needs may include goal setting, learning a new skill, spending time with those we love, developing financial health, etc., and may overlap with self-care in other areas (e.g., spiritual, emotional, etc.)
  • Professional: Self-care in the workplace is important, too. Taking lunch breaks, setting boundaries, getting supervision, supporting colleagues and receiving support from them are all possible ways to care for yourself professionally.

How are you fulfilling each of the self-care types? Are there some types that are strengths? Others that you want to improve upon? Just as each of our self-care needs are different, we all likely have some areas that we do well, as well as other areas that we tend to neglect. If you would like to find out more about how you are doing in each of these areas, consider taking a self-care assessment like this one for further reflection and ideas.  

As a final point, when it comes to self-care, remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Sally!). Everyone is at a different point on their self-care journey. Self-care is not a competition. Take some time to care for yourself today, in whatever way is meaningful to you!

The mission of the Grant Wood AEA Critical Incident Stress Management Team is to support GWAEA schools and individuals in coping with critical incidents by providing resources and trained, local response teams.

Category: The Linker