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Self-Care Sunday

May 13, 2018

We often talk about the importance of self-care, but what does it really mean and how do you actually do it? Each of us has our own ways of taking care of ourselves. When I say "self-care," in and out of my professional role, I am referring to those things that you need to do in order to help you function in daily life. These things vary from person to person. Sometimes, people mistake "self-care" with "selfishness," and they might begin to believe that doing things for oneself is inherently bad. This is not accurate. If we can't take care of ourselves, we can't function, and we can't take care of others.

Oftentimes we overlook little things that are important for our daily lives, or we don't think of them as being in the interest of self-care, so I thought I would start a Self-Care Sunday series where I share just a few tips each week. This keeps it very brief, because time is important and not all of us have a lot of it on our hands. What we each do depends on a number of factors, including our individual lifestyles, or our medical needs.
  • Sleep regularity. Going to bed at around the same time and waking at around the same time most days, if not every day, can help ensure we are at our best. Each person has their own optimal number of hours of sleep that they need. Some adults might be perfectly fine with 6 hours, while others may need 8. For children and adolescents, at least 8 hours is recommended, as their brains are still in the process of development.

  • Check your posture. Many of us are used to working at a computer or looking at some device for a portion of our workday. Many of us also have to sit for long periods of time. But this applies to anybody, regardless of occupation. Throughout the day, from time to time, pay attention to your posture. Are your shoulders hunched? Are you slouching? Can you sit up straight, straighten or roll back your shoulders? Is your jaw tense? This will be different for each person depending on injuries or ability, but if you can adjust your posture, do so. Oftentimes, we are so focused on our tasks that we don't pay attention to what our bodies are doing. After a while of keeping any muscle under tension or any body part in an odd position, that muscle or body part will start to call out your attention in the form of cramps, soreness, or pain.

  • Breathing breaks. There will be times during your workday --gaps-- between tasks, such as when you need a bio break, when you finish one assignment and are moving on to the next, or when you are clocking out. Use these gaps to check your breathing. If you can breathe in through your nose, inhale slowly and deeply. As you inhale, pay attention to your muscles and relax them if you can. Exhale through your mouth, slowly if you can. Take a few deep breaths like this. If you can't breathe in through your nose, do so through your mouth. Breathe however you need to breathe, just breathe. 
This info is not meant to replace any type of therapy you may already be receiving, or any information or advice you may have received from your medical or mental health providers. If anything, this is just supplemental information from one person who cares to another. So I hope this is useful. Thanks for reading and check back on Sundays for additional brief tips. Take care of yourself!  ♥
1 comment on "Self-Care Sunday"
  1. Posture is a great one. I always slump my shoulders and have to straighten my back every now and then.