What happens when those things, that can certainly be self-care, don’t “cure” what’s ailing us? When it just feels cumbersome. What do we do then?
That’s when we need to start looking at things that don’t feel quite so fluffy. I’m talking about things like therapy, exercise, writing through your trauma, or setting SMART goals. Of course, these are all also things that can be added to our seemingly endless task list, but they are also things that lead to long-term sustainability and that’s what self-care is really about.
Working to develop strategies to manage stress, get to the bottom of things like absent mindedness and anxiety, or just improving your communication skills are all things that seeing a therapist can help with. I will be the first to tell you that therapy is a privilege and it can be a challenge to keep up if you don’t have the money. If you can manage it, I’d highly recommend it, but I’ve started and stopped therapy more times than I care to think about. But when I’ve done it, it’s always been worth it.
Our time is precious and finding time to integrate fitness into your everyday life can contribute to long-term sustainability. Spending just a few minutes a day moving your body – having a dance party with your kids, playing “horsey”, or walking around the block on your lunch break – help you deal with stress and anxiety, improve your confidence, and prevent cognitive decline.
There are so many of us that have had trauma in our lives. It may be so integral to our way of being that we don’t even recognize it as trauma anymore, but that event can still have an impact on our lives as we try to move forward. Writing about it, processing our lives in a way that allows us to see it on the page, can also help us be sustainable over the long term.
My last suggestion for self-care is, arguably, the most likely to add items to your to do list. But hear me out, because I think this suggestion really is a good one. When I am struggling and the self-care is lacking, I feel as though everything I do is aimless – pointless even. Why am I folding these clothes, cooking this dinner, giving a bath? The motions are there, but there is nothing behind them. If I’ve set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based my actions have meaning. I am doing those basic household tasks (and my goodness, there are a lot of them) because they reduce my mental clutter and I can focus on what is truly important to me.
What are some of your strategies for self-care that lend themselves to your long-term sustainability?