The Importance of Self-Care

A couple of weekends ago, my husband and I attended a wellness retreat a few hours away from where we live. It took place at a lodge in the middle of one of the state parks and consisted of various sessions with all kinds of topics, including laughter yoga, Reiki, mindfulness exercises, dancing, yoga, Zentangles, and poetry. It was really nice to get away and have some time to ourselves, but it was also nice to focus on taking care of myself for the weekend. It definitely helped that there were lots of therapists in attendance. I love doing stuff like this with groups of therapists because we are usually really into the exercises and open to new experiences, and I find that I really thrive in this environment.

As a therapist, I provide group therapy sessions about wellness and stress management all the time, and I am always telling people that they are worth the effort and they are worth the time. It is definitely time that I start taking my own advice.

Yes, I realize that to some, this sounds selfish, but allow me to tell you why it’s not.

We all want to be great moms, great wives, and great at our careers whether that is in the home or outside of the home. We all want to be well-rounded people and great at what we do. It is extremely difficult to be great, maybe even impossible, unless we take time for ourselves.

There are various different wellness models with different numbers of components, but the bottom line is that if we just focus on one or two of those areas and make that really great, it still doesn’t make us well. For example, just because someone is physically healthy does not necessarily mean she is “well” if the other areas are not met. There has to be a balance in our lives. We can’t just put all of our eggs into one basket, so to speak, and expect to feel whole. It might suffice for a little while, but eventually the other areas of our lives will deteriorate. All areas should be addressed, and one should be happy with all areas.

Since working on all of these areas in my life, I have found it easier to be more balanced and in turn, I have been more true to myself than ever before. Yes, I still sometimes feel bad if I go running off to Starbucks for the evening instead of picking up my house, but I have been more accepting of the fact that I need this time out of my house. I feel so much better if I get out on a regular basis and I find I am much more patient with my little ones.

I have been interested in wellness and self-care for several years now, though I used to think the idea of self-care was frivolous; now I understand that it is absolutely necessary. It is necessary because it keeps one from experiencing burnout. I have been in my career for 9 years and taking better care of myself in all of my areas has helped with this.

Self-care doesn’t have to be a huge deal by any means. Different people need different things. Self-care might look like attending yoga classes a few days a week. Or it might mean meeting a friend for coffee on Sunday afternoons. It could be learning a new instrument or taking a class. A big part of it is just doing something that you enjoy just for the sake of enjoyment.

If you remember anything about this post, it should be these two points:

1. No one is necessarily going to take care of you, so it is up to you to take the initiative and do this for yourself.

2. Taking care of yourself is not selfish; in fact, taking care of yourself makes you more balanced and allows you to be more present for others in your life.

I challenge you to do something nice for yourself this week. You might take a bubble bath after your kids are in bed. Or watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see. Try it and see how you feel!

What are you doing for yourself this week?


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