A lot of counseling clients that I talk with have difficulties knowing how to take care of themselves. They are so busy taking care of work, family, money and other life stressors that they don’t have the time or the know-how to develop and practice good self-care techniques.
One of the most important ideas to understand is your personal threshold point. At what point do you start to show wear and cracks? Can you recognize when you get to that point? More importantly, how can you remedy those issues before they really start to affect your mind and body wellness?
That personal threshold point is different for every person. Developing an understanding and clear self-awareness about when that point arises is the first step in practicing self-care. Some people have a very high threshold for stress; others start to show wear earlier.
For men and women alike, the concept of saying “no” is one contributing factor to practicing better self-care. We live in a very demanding culture — one that expects constant multitasking and perfectionism. Being able to say “no”– even when our environment beckons that we say “yes” – is a practice in honoring and respecting yourself. It’s knowing your limits, and it’s not giving out more than you can give, which erodes one’s ability to give anything at all.
Another way to understand self-care is to know what blocks or barriers come between you and the healthy image of you in your mind. We can all agree that eating well, exercising, practicing spirituality or contemplation, and the like, are all positive pursuits on the road to self-care. But, what’s more interesting is how we limit ourselves from the inside with negative self-talk.
What negative messages or beliefs keep you in a state of procrastination or lack of motivation? How do you undermine your own efforts, and keep yourself from the ideal healthy you in your mind? I think those questions are much more relevant, because we need only to listen to our culture which tells us to eat better, exercise daily, be happy… we know all this, and yet sometimes we don’t always do what we know is best for us in the long run.
Practicing good self-care is very important, but understanding our motivations and intentions, as well as the roadblocks and barriers to our own success, is even more important. If we create the right motivations and intentions, we are laying a solid foundation for the continued practice of good self-care over the course of a lifetime.