Self-Care Starts with Me
BSC Tips & Techniques
Becky S. Corbett, MSW, ACSW & Emily Tevault, MBA
Lead yourself with intentional self-care. Self-care is about taking care of you so you can give your best to others. It supports your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Below, are 10 tips and techniques to support your goals, such as exercising, reducing stress, relaxing and to get you started on the path to taking care of YOU.
Take Care of your Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health
Your body is your partner in getting things done and enjoying life. Take care of it with sleep, eating protein, physical activity, and preventative care. Physical activity increases the production of endorphins, which help to reduce stress and increase positive feelings in the body. Value your doctor appointments as much as you value your families’ appointments and your work appointments. Take care of your psychological, emotional and cognitive well-being. What helps you feel good, think positively and be in a good mood? Explore your values and beliefs and connect with yourself, others, nature, or a higher power through religion, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, or yoga. Take time develop inner peace, be open to different points of view, and practice forgiveness.
Focus on Intentional Growth
Without growth, you lose momentum and stagnation sets in. Intentional growth is growth with a purpose, which motivates you to reach your full potential. Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree reminds us that if we give everything we have to others and don’t take care of ourselves, we will not have anything left to give. Take a strengths-based approach to life and intentionally develop your strengths.
Choose a Positive Attitude
Attitude is a choice you make every day. We have thousands of thoughts each day. If the majority of them are negative, it will pull you down. Remove/limit toxic people and thoughts from your life. Support your choice to have a positive attitude by identifying who/what helps you stay positive. Surround yourself with things that make you smile.
Reflect and Journal
Taking time to reflect allows you to pause, learn from experiences, transition, and make intentional decisions. Discover the best location for reflection, and be aware of the signs that you need to take time to reflect, such as feeling overwhelmed. Journal in your handwriting to take ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Your energy levels vary throughout the day. Manage your energy by discovering and supporting your daily energy pattern. Are you a morning, afternoon or evening person? When do you get your charge? Take breaks during your lower-energy times to re-energize. Identify the best ways you re-energize, such as a walk, listening to music, stretching, or laughing with a friend.
The average child laughs about 400 times per day while the average adult laughs only 15 times per day. The Mayo Clinic reports that there are emotional and physical benefits to finding humor in your life. It reduces your response to stress, improves your mood, relieves pain, and soothes tension. A laugh shared with others also builds a connection and makes you more approachable.
Technology is a valuable tool; however just as you need breaks from your personal and professional life to re-energize, you also need breaks from technology. Even if you are sitting on the couch watching a movie and flipping through social media when you hear notifications on your cellular device, your physical body may be relaxing, but your brain is not. Your best ideas come when you give your brain a break. Create a family household charging station, remove all technology from the dinner table, have a no-technology living room, and limit the amount of time you use a device.
Create A Not-To-Do List
Focusing on your ever-growing to-do list causes you to feel overwhelmed. Only thinking about what you have to do is not the full picture. Reflect on what you can stop doing and make a not-to-do list. Before you even add something to your to-do list, consider if it supports your values and priorities. If it doesn’t, add it to your not-to-do list. Ask yourself: Is this really important? Does it have to be done today, tomorrow, ever?
Listen to Music
Music improves your mood and increases your energy. Listening to music causes your brain to release more dopamine, which can create positive feelings. Songs become part of your memories. When you hear them, they bring that memory to the forefront. Create playlists that make you feel like dancing and singing out loud.
Commit to a Self-Care Meets Producktivity® Plan
You cannot change the number of hours in a day, only how you use them. Schedule your priorities to stay focused and reduce your stress. Identify your self-care practices, connect them to what works for you, and organize a self-care plan. If it is important to you, it deserves time on your calendar.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Mind, body, and spirit are all connected and require consistent care and attention to be at your best for yourself and others. What self-care practices do you recommend? What is one tip/technique you are committing to try? Share your thoughts and experiences, join the conversation below.
Self-Care Resources: My Reflection Journal Template – BSCorbett Consulting Free Resource The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals by Erlene Grise-Owens, Justin “Jay” Miller, and Mindy Eaves The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Aliza Sherman