Kerry Lassen, LCSW | Clinical Director, Progressive Institute
What is your personal definition of self-care?
Self-care involves looking at the overall person – emotional, mental and physical self and how to take care of each of those three aspects. Maintaining a continuous routine, even during uncertain times, is also a factor in maintaining self-care.
What are the challenges / barriers of practicing self-care? And how do we combat it?
People not making themselves a priority is a big one. It is easy to put other people first and neglect taking care of oneself emotionally, mentally, and physically. Also, it is important to note that caregivers (such as therapists and medical field professionals) are so used to giving to others that they have difficulty practicing self-care themselves. It is imperative to recognize the value in self-care and how it makes one able to effectively give and show-up for others. Making the time for it as a sacred priority is key.
What are self-care tips amidst the current regulations with COVID-19?
There is a large adjustment for most people when it comes to staying home, social-distancing, and interrupted routines. Recognizing this and having a mindset shift to one of gratitude and seeing how you can make the most of this time is important. Continuing to talk to people who are important to you such as family and friends and making time to virtually interact with them if possible is very helpful. Also, getting outside for fresh air and sunshine will help lessen the feeling of being inside for too long and help with feeling grounded.
What are some specific examples of self-care?
- Physical: eating well, exercising, taking walks, self-pampering (e.g. baths, aromatherapy)
- Emotional: spending time with loved ones, finding things that make you laugh, allowing yourself to feel emotions
- Mental/psychological: drawing boundaries to reduce stress, knowing that it is ok to say “no”, putting yourself first, being curious about a new topic/hobby, and using this time to find new hobbies, paying attention to inner feelings to gauge what you need to put in place to feel okay
- Spiritual: being in-touch with the human experience/soul, spending time outdoors without screens/news, practicing meditation, deep-breathing, and inspirational readings
- Professional: checking in with co-workers, learning to balance workload, and figuring out how you work most effectively will lead to more job satisfaction
Where can one find more information about this topic?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website (SAMHSA), personal research on the dimensions of wellness.