How can we practice self-care?

What does it mean to take care of oneself? 

Growing up we might have learned that taking care of ourselves and paying attention to our own needs is being selfish and self-centered.

However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will? 

It is a matter of constructive selfishness. When we feel good about ourselves, we are better able to give to others without expectations of getting something in return. Giving for fun and for free.

Self-care is not about wallowing in our grievances about the past or fruitless worries about the future.

Self-care is prioritizing our own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. We need to ask ourselves:

Is my physical well-being a priority? Do I eat well and get enough sleep? When was the last time I had a checkup or went to a dentist? Do I keep myself clean? Take breaks? Exercise?

Do I ask for a hug when I need to? Am I growing more aware of my feelings? Can I celebrate when things are going well? Am I taking time to enjoy myself? Is any of the attention I once gave to negative thinking now focused on gratitude?

Do I have a relationship with a Power greater than myself? If not, am I willing to give it a try? Do I make time for prayer and meditation? Am I more willing to ask for help?

Courage to Change, Al-Anon Family Groups, Inc. 1992, p. 354

Once we start reflecting upon our self-care habits, we are beginning to improve them.

Please contact me if you have any questions, comments or requests.

4 thoughts on “How can we practice self-care?

  1. I have suffered with severe anxiety disorder all my childhood and adult life. Recently diagnosed with Severe anxiety and PTSD I had no idea. I’m 48 years young I have 3 children 15 15 and a daughter 9 I’m separated but good relationship with my ex I just got my black belt in Traditional Kenpo I am a practicing social worker I have a beautiful partner I can sing and play in a band Yet I’m scared lonely sad I crave smoking cigarettes and pain killers I feel lost and sometimes suicidal I see a counsellor but I feel I need is just a complete pause on life a break from my life a detox from my life and so on…………. thoughts ideas retreats?

    1. Congratulations with your black belt! It is a great accomplishment that requires a lot of effort and persistence. It sounds like you have a lot of good things surrounding you in your life. Yet our inner turmoil and anxiety can be such a challenge as you describe – even though we are in the midst of beautiful things.
      The thing is that happiness is an inside job. I have realized through my experience in recovery that the problem is not the problem. I am the problem – it is my attitude, my thoughts and my actions related to the different situations or problems I encounter that are causing my troubles. I have found a great freedom in the fact that I am powerless over people, places and things outside of myself. The only person I have any type of control over is me and my attitude and actions. I can really recommend that you see if any of the free 12 step recovery programs appeal to you and your background – could be Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholic Anonymous, Codependents Anonymous or Al-Anon. Working the program will provide you with great tools to find freedom and happiness on the inside. Best of luck as you “trudge the road to happy destiny”

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