This article appears in the 2017 October Family magazine.
Taking care of yourself has always been good advice, but now “self-care” is trending. Check it out on Instagram and you’ll get over 2.5 million hits.
This trend is all about purpose and being in tune with yourself, reflecting on your personal needs and wellness.
“Self-care is the mindset that you’re worthy of positive well-being and kindness,” said self-care coach Emily Burrows, who teaches clients over video chat and in-person in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “The actual ‘what’ of self care — the actions that you take, your choices, your inner narrative, your relationships — all of those things are impacted by that core mindset of worthiness. That can encompass everything from drinking enough water because being hydrated improves how you feel physically to exiting a toxic relationship to take care of your emotional and spiritual well-being.”
“Self-care is the practice of attending to your mental well-being. It means protecting time to truly consider yourself, what you do, what you think, how you feel,” said John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of “The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Teens and Tweens.” “This time allows us to make better decisions in terms of boundaries, protecting time for rest and leisure, who to associate with and who to avoid, even vocations.”
During times of depression or grief, “it’s hard to remember that you’re worthy of your own kindness and well-being, so we can really struggle with self-care,” Burrows said.
For many people, life right now feels tumultuous.
“Life moves faster now than ever, and we are ambushed moment to moment with an onslaught of information,” Duffy said. “So, it is more difficult than it has ever been to protect time for ourselves, to listen to our inner voices and recharge our batteries. Self-care has never been so crucial.”
Like “being mindful,” sometimes the term “self-care” gets thrown around and taken out of context.
“If you look at Instagram, for example, there are people on there posting photos of diet teas as their #selfcare. For my clients, many of whom are recovering from chronic dieting and learning to listen to their bodies and eat intuitively, that is the opposite of self-care,” Burrows said.
“It can definitely seem self-indulgent and easily misinterpreted. I encourage my clients to conceptualize it this way: We cannot be there to take care of others, in most any way, if you do not take very good care of yourself,” Duffy said.