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International Self-Care Day

I like to think of self care as basic maintenance. Just as a car needs regular maintenance every several thousand miles, our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves need regular “tuning up” in order to keep running well. Self care isn’t a luxury or an indulgence (though it can include those things sometimes) rather, self care describes the necessary actions we take to keep ourselves going. Similar to a car, going without self care leads us to run the risk of breaking down or burning out.

Self care means tending to the self. And what is the “self” exactly? We are physical beings and also emotional beings. We are social, we are spiritual, we live in homes, we have belongings, we go to work, we manage our finances/resources ... Each of these areas can benefit from being tended to. For example, paying our bills on time if we have the resources to do so can be an act of self care in that we reduce our stress levels. Tidying a room cares for the environment that our “self” lives in, similarly reducing stress. Learning about how to have healthy relationships and taking actions to set boundaries is an act of self care for the social parts of ourselves.

With all of this in mind, consider some examples of self care and how you benefit from them:

  • Setting boundaries in your relationships to preserve your energy and emotional health (relational self care);

  • Setting aside a small amount of money each week or month to reduce financial stress (financial care);

  • Letting go of “perfection” as a goal and instead considering what “90 percent” might look like (mental care);

  • Tidying up an area of your home (environmental care);

  • Making meals to keep in your freezer so there is something comforting and nourishing available to you at the end of a long day (physical care);

  • Spending more time outside in nature (mental, emotional and spiritual care);

  • Wearing a favorite outfit (mental and emotional care);

  • Taking breaks throughout the workday (occupational care);

  • Making time for both socializing and quiet time in whatever proportion suits your unique needs (social, mental and emotional care).

Using this list as inspiration, consider some of the ways you can care for yourself, remembering that self care isn’t at all selfish, it’s just basic maintenance.

Self-care for us means caring for others. This month in honor of disability pride month, Looking Glass Counseling will make a donation to the Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES). SCES is a local program that helps older people and people living with disabilities remain safe and independent in their own homes by providing a wide range of supportive services, as well as information and advice.


Amanda Jacobson, LMHC, Amanda is a licensed therapist in clinical practice since 2013. She has experience working in both inpatient and outpatient settings, with group and individual therapy and she has a passion for working with people recovering from addictions, as well as codependency, depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship challenges and major life transitions. She earned her master’s degree from Boston University.

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