I like to think that being a therapist I'm a little ahead of the curve when it comes to Self-Care but the truth is that I tend to leave my Self last on the list, more often than not.
There's family and work, and the never-ending To-Do list that magically keeps itself long. Did I mentioned kids already? It's a merry-go-round that unfortunately, has shown me [time and time again] that if I don't step out every so often, I will fall, and hard.
I'm quite open about my struggle with postpartum anxiety and depression, and here's the thing, once anyone has suffered from depression or anxiety, our bodies - wisely- become hypersensitive to signs of stress. Stress that might, if unattended, turn into symptoms of burnout, depression, anxiety, and so on.
When I talk to my clients about caring for themselves, we sometimes talk about how difficult it is to make this a consistent practice.
That it can be challenging, especially if you have a partner or children, or if you have a high-demanding job. And this past year, the constant shift and uncertainty, has increased the likelihood of experiencing constant stress.
So: how to do it?
Two things that always work:
- Take it a day a time:
Caring for yourselves is a life-long task, so if you miss a day, a week, a month, start over. No one is keeping track.
- Plan ahead:
Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, stretching, exercising, drinking a glass of your favorite warm drink, sleeping in, journaling your thoughts and/or feelings, calling friends, going to therapy... this takes time.
So plan ahead. Set your alarm earlier, go to bed later, ask for help. Most importantly, allow yourself to let go of unimportant things so you can care for your well-being.
Is it sustainable? It can be.
Is it hard? It might be.
Is it worth it? Most definitely.