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International Self-Care Day

“When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, you treat others better.” — Solange Knowles


As I prepared to write this blog post, and by that I mean procrastinating à la scrolling on instagram, I came across this post:



Naturally, I had my laugh, and put my phone down, because what Alec is saying is true. Self-care can look like pursuing social media on our 15 minute work-break, while “doom-scrolling” well into the night because we “can’t fall asleep” can be self-destructive. Taking time to indulge or “treat ourselves” with facemasks and bubble baths or doing some “retail therapy” are often glamorized (and advertised) as “self-care” practices that can become self-destructive if we’re not careful, but also do not fully meet all of our self-care needs.


Robyn L. Gobin, Ph.D., author of The Self-Care Prescription, describes self-care as not just “treating yourself” but also “taking responsibility” for your overall wellness in all aspects of life. She considers it a “more substantive, holistic endeavor, touching every aspect of a person’s life,” breaking it down into 6 different domains:

  • Physical: Physical wellness is all about how your body functions. To function optimally, your body needs proper nourishment, exercise and healthy habits.

  • Social: We were created for social connection. We are at our best when we have healthy relationships with people who genuinely care about us, respect us and lift us up.

  • Intellectual: Just like your body needs exercise, so does your brain! You’re never too old to grow and learn something new. Intellectual wellness is all about engaging in activities that feed your creativity and keep your mind sharp.

  • Vocational: Life is too short to be doing work that doesn’t make you feel good. Vocational self-care involves finding meaning in the work you do and knowing how to cope when you find yourself in a less than optimal employment situation.

  • Spiritual: When we are spiritually healthy, we realize that we exist beyond the physical and our life has a sense of meaning and purpose.

  • Emotional: Oh, feelings. When they’re unpleasant, we feel like we can’t live with them, and when they’re pleasant, we definitely wouldn’t want to survive without them. The truth is, we were meant to experience a range of emotions — both pleasure and pain. Emotional wellness is all about embracing your full emotional experience and having skills that help you cope when emotions are painful and intense.


It’s important to remember that self-care is different for everyone, can change over the course of our lives and can be easily built over time. This can look like tuning into the present moment and your “present self” for five minutes today and asking yourself three questions:

  1. How am I feeling right now?

  2. What do I need in this moment?

  3. What small action can I take to feed my soul today?




 

Angela Carlson, LMHC, received her Master’s from Lesley University in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in expressive arts therapy. She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings doing case management, crisis intervention, psychiatric day treatment, and therapy for individuals, groups, and families. She is experienced in providing services to people struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, substance abuse and addiction, dual-diagnoses, trauma and stressor related disorders, obsessive compulsive traits, borderline personality traits, eating disorders, and other mental health symptoms.


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