Self care means knowing who you are and your limits. Self care means recognizing when you are doing more than you are used to handling and trying to figure out what can be done to slow down. Self care means getting the sleep you need and knowing how to rest. Self-care is the most important way to boost and maintain both emotional and physical health. Many people today neglect it due to a lack of time, and this negatively impacts the lives of those who do not make sure they are putting themselves first.
Self-care relies on increased self-awareness, which can benefit people who are living with a mental illness. Practicing self-awareness can help you to recognize patterns in your emotions, including events or situations that can trigger worsened symptoms. Some forms of self-care are intuitively helpful for mental health. Exercise, eating well, and sleeping well, all affect our physical health as well as giving us energy to do what needs to be done every day. There are 3 main reasons Self-Care affects Mental Health.
A Sense of Security
Anxiety is a product of feeling unsafe in one way or another. It differs from fear in that it is not an urgent, life threatening sense of danger we’re worried about. Rather, anxiety relates to the things that keep our world as we know it in order. Unfortunately, the solution to the problems excessive anxiety causes us cannot be to fix everything in our lives and keep everything in control. That’s impossible, especially because it’s not really up to us most othe time.
Therapy helps us learn to manage the anxiety, but self-care has its own important place. Self-care, quite simply, makes us feel cared for. When we know we’re cared for, we feel a sense of security. That sense of security reduces the potency of the anxiety. Yes, the triggers remain, but you will feel like a more robust person, ready to deal with them.
Because You’re Worth It
One common factor in most mental illnesses is a shaky sense of self. You’re questioning who you are and, more urgently, whether you matter at all. You may not have received the unconditional love of a parent, or maybe you interpreted their care as coming at a steep price
Whatever the reason is, you need to develop your sense of self in order to truly heal. Self-care is a perfect start. Your mind may shred all evidence that others find you worthwhile, but actions can be potent regardless. Taking care of yourself is a practical demonstration of your own self-worth. In a way, it’s as if you’re “faking it til you make it”.
Yourself And Others
In case you feel that self-care is, in fact, selfish, here’s the good news. Without caring for yourself, you’re not going to be able to care for others. As RuPaul puts it:
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
In other words, you’re the person you spend most of your time with. You’re the person who experiences your own attitudes and actions. If you’re not caring for yourself, you’re neglecting your caring skills altogether. Conversely, if you are giving yourself love and care, you build your caring skills and naturally start relating to others with more compassion and empathy.
Yours in Your Journey to Personal Healing and Success
Monica Squires, CARC