by Ana Diaz, Director of Programs
“Self-care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” –Eleanor Brown
Self-care, the practice of taking an active role in preserving one’s own health, wellness, and happiness is an art form. For social workers and other helping professionals especially, caring is an essential competency and skill. While caring for others often comes naturally for many, the self-caring and its importance are given little thought and attention.
At Safe+Sound Somerset, we often emphasize with our clients (and remind ourselves) that self-care is an important element in successfully caring for others. So, if we know self-care is crucial, how can we begin prioritizing our own self-care? Especially if it is something we’ve given little thought to before?
1. Acknowledge any discomfort. If you’ve never prioritized self-care, the process may feel unnatural.
2. Begin by checking in with yourself. A mini-self assessment can help you notice how you’re feeling and determine which areas of yourself and your life may need some nurturing. The self-care wheel, included as a resource below, can help guide you.
3. Make a list. Are there any needs you’d like to prioritize? Maybe you’ve been putting off your annual physical or dental cleaning.
4. Start small. Perhaps, you want to begin by pausing to take your lunch every day, taking a walk, or tidying up your workspace.
5. Be kind and patient with yourself, self-care is a skill and takes practice.
You will find that with practice you will become more attune to your own feelings and needs, and more comfortable setting limits and prioritizing your own self-care. When we begin to think about and talk about self-care, we start to see that prioritizing our needs and understanding our limits is part of having a healthy relationship with our selves. A quick look at the Self-Care Wheel allows us to see similar language and dialogue utilized when commonly discussing unhealthy and healthy relationships.
Ultimately, self-care is about honoring the relationship we have with ourselves and finding equality and balance, knowing when to give and when to nurture and rest.