“Self-care” has become a trending catchphrase that has been discussed on all forms of media. While we have long seen this as a popular topic in self-help books, we are increasingly seeing this trend adopted by companies to market esthetically pleasing and gimmicky products with a “wellness” branding. As enjoyable as a Goop face mask, a jade face roller and a yoga retreat is, these products or activities are certainly not the foundation of a good self-care regime.
To me self-care is about assessing my current needs, reflecting on where there might be an imbalance in my life, and then finding ways to return to balance.
For a lot of us, there is a pressure to balance:
1) Current work/school demands
2) Striving for the next step in our educational/professional future
3) Romantic relationships & caregiving to dependents
4) Social lives
Often we allow one of these domains to be under-supported, while generally prioritizing the work/school domain. This is completely understandable, however, this can leave us feeling burnt out, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, and irritable. This balance will never be perfect, and certain domains will have to be prioritized over others at specific times. However, we need to more frequently assess our prioritization, if its sustainable and if it is aligned with our values.
Self care needs to be something that is practiced, with time for oneself each day to reflect on these imbalances and practice gratitude. If we don’t take 5 minutes a day to assess this balance how will we know? Each day I try to pick three out of the eight options to prioritize, but mix them up throughout the week.
Trying to be perfect and attend to all eight domains will leave you feeling like a failure, but always choosing to prioritize work and caregiving will leave you drained of energy. It’s important that we stop guilting ourselves from prioritizing our mental and physical well-being out of fear of being selfish. We need to refuel our emotional tank so that we can continue to give to others.
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Jessica is a member of the clinical wellness and learning support team at FLEX Psychology. Jessica started Wellness Wednesday out of a desire to provide further opportunities for her clients to extend their wellness journey to all avenues of their life. You can learn more about Jessica by clicking here or by learning more about her and the clinical team at FLEX Psychology by clicking here.