We often find strength and value in caring for those we love. However, this is difficult when we do not first care for ourselves. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, to effectively provide care and love to those around us, we must first take care of ourselves. “It’s like the advice we’re given on airplanes: put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help someone else with theirs” (NAMI, 2020). I do not think this statement could be anymore true, especially in the stressful world we live in today. Self-care can be as simple as talking with others and gathering strength through supportive relationships, finding the positive in situations or taking personal time to process and reflect on the day. Some additional ways to engage in self-care include exercising, eating healthy, getting adequate sleep and engaging in relaxation exercises. It is also important that you give yourself ample time to “recharge” yourself. This may include being with friends, enjoying the outdoors or treating yourself to something special.
You might think, “Self-care... who has time for that?” You also might think, “Self-care... that’s selfish!” However, without being proactive and engaging in self-care, we often are reactive in doing things to address areas that become unhealthy (i.e. taking time off of work because of burn out, or going to medical appointments from not eating well or exercising). Also, self-care is more of a self-LESS act than a self-ISH act. Taking care of yourself is important for both you and others around you and is one of the best investments of your time and energy.
The most important thing to remember is that self-care is vital for individuals to reach their optimal mental and physical health. There is only one you - make sure to take good care of you. So, put on your own oxygen mask and take time for self-care - you and your loved ones will thank you for this.
Darci Wikelius is a clinical therapist at Recovering Hope Treatment Center in Mora.