When you first hear of self-care, it’s hard to understand what it is or how it’s any different from any normal routine you do stay alive. Taking care of yourself seems like something you just do naturally; eat, drink, sleep, and you’re going to be alright. Many people live their entire lives with this lack of understanding on the importance of taking care of your full self, mind, body, and soul. The end result is a life lived at only minimal potential. Self-care allows a person to reach a higher level of self-actualization which in turn benefits the people and relationships around them.

Self-care, in its basic definition, is the process of reaching optimal physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It is an intentional act that requires a person to find areas of their lives that need improvement and work on them specifically. For many of us, we tend to pick one or two areas to focus on and check self-care off of our list of things to do! The goal of the self-care column is to provide a fresh perspective to these areas so that you can be healthy, wholly.  Self-care is most effective when you are in tune with all the areas of your life. Self-care allows you to refuel so that you have an internal resource for others in your everyday lives.

We all know that taking care of yourself is important. For some of us we perpetually put ourselves on the back burner in sacrifice for others. School, work, family, kids, friends, relationships, spouses, commitments, and responsibilities all seems to pile themselves onto our plate. We focus on them while our bodies are screaming for some attention. Ignoring the signals our bodies send, gets us through the day-to-day routines until one day we simply can’t go on anymore. Without self-care, you will eventually burn out with nothing left to give to those around you.

I didn’t realize the necessity of self-care until about a year ago when life got crazy for me. I found myself in a terribly complex and stressful life predicament *read, your mid-20’s* and I had the overwhelming fear that I was going to crash and burn at any moment of the day. Anxiety soon crept into my life and became debilitating. Everyday tasks became difficult to accomplish. One day I looked myself in the mirror defeated, wondering how long this cycle would go on. Self-care became a necessity for me when I had no other options.

After a few months, I realized I had to take an active role in taking care of myself if was going to pull through life and live to tell about it. Sluggishly, I began to listen to my body. In moments of extreme sadness, I started to ask myself “where did that come from?”. In more rare moments of contentment, I asked the same thing. After time I began to realize the things that brought me extreme joy and happiness. I learned to focused on ways to enhance those moments in my life. I also realized the areas of my life where I was spreading myself thin. I eventually had to set boundaries so that I could take my control of my life again. 

As time passed I realized that the boundaries I set kept my anxiety down while implementing more activities that brought me joy filled me with happiness. Throughout this journey I’ve come to know myself in a deeper, more centered way. Self-care has transformed me into a stronger, healthier woman.

Self-care is a journey of discovery, both good and bad. Finding both allow you to see the cause of the issues of life and come up with a plan to solve them. In the posts to come, we will explore ways to live your best life while caring for yourself. We will talk about issues like balance, saying no and yes, finding joy, anxiety, depression, stress management, the importance of friendships, and much more. I’m excited to focus on issues that are commonly overlooked or misunderstood and bring realistic goals in approaching them. I can’t wait to get started on this journey with your guys!